Adapted from the wonderful new book, Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America,
by Sami Scripter and Sheng Yang, this is light and low-carb. The
original recipe calls for toasted sticky rice flour, and in the book
you'll find instructions for making this. I substituted toasted bread
crumbs. Don't substitute for the fresh herbs, though; they are
essential to the bright taste of the dish. Serves 8; can be halved.
3 lbs ground chicken or turkey
Juice of 2 large limes, plus 1 lime for garnish
2 Tbsp rice wine
2 tsp minced fresh ginger or galanga
1 stalk minced lemongrass (remove tough outer leaves, root, and top several inches before mincing)
3 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
3 Tbsp toasted bread crumbs
1 heaping cup chopped fresh mint
1 heaping cup chopped cilantro
Several additional stems of mint and cilantro, for garnish
1 bunch scallions, sliced diagonally
1/2 cup chopped Thai basil
1 large head leaf lettuce (16 leaves, for wrapping)
On a large cutting board, chop the chicken until it is finely minced. Place it in a large bowl, and squeeze the lime juice over it. Add the rice wine and mix with your hands to combine.
In a nonstick frying pan (don't use any oil), cook the chicken, tossing and stirring constantly, just until the meat turns white. Return the mixture with any accumulated juice to the bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.
While the chicken cools, prepare the fresh herbs. Add the ginger, lemongrass, lemon peel, red pepper flakes, garlic, fish sauce, salt, white pepper and bread crumbs to the cooled mixture. Toss the ingredients together until they are well mixed. Then add the mint, cilantro, scallions and Thai basil. Gently toss everything together.
Break lettuce leaves away from the head, and wash and dry them. Fill lettuce leaves with the chicken mixture, and serve with lime wedges.