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Toasted Coconut & Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Toasted Coconut & Chicken Lettuce Wraps recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com

What were you up to one year ago?  Just thinking about it makes you realize how fast time flies, doesn’t it?  Last May, I was probably walking to the Kuantan morning market in Penang, shopping for all the wonderful tropical fruits that are in season this time of year like rambutan, durian, and langsat.  On my way home, I most likely stopped by my favorite coconut shop – Joez Coconut – to pick up freshly grated coconut flakes for making a Nyonya Kerabu Bee Hoon Salad.

A year later, I’m in Minnesota enjoying our first 90 degree day of spring, dreaming of the foods I miss from home.  I may not be able to replicate those same dishes now, but I think I have even more fun cooking – and eating – the many Southeast Asian inspired dishes I’m challenged to create with the limited tropical ingredients I have available here in Minnesota.

One of those Southeast Asian inspired dishes is this summer recipe of Toasted Coconut & Chicken Lettuce Wraps.


How to toast coconut flakes
tropical asian inspired recipe of coconut and chicken lettuce wraps

A popular ingredient in Southeast Asian style salads is freshly grated coconut, which is often toasted until lightly brown and fragrant.  Without a Joez Coconut Shop around the corner, I’ve found the best alternative here in the US is unsweetened coconut flakes.  They’re not as aromatic, but they keep well.  Simply toast them on the stove, mix them with thinly sliced shallots, bright cilantro, and shredded chicken, and you have the base for a delicious tropical salad, or in this case, a tropical style lettuce wrap.

To add some smoky spiciness and a hint of warming citrus flavor to this Toasted Coconut & Chicken Lettuce Wrap, I also included a few dashes each of our Smoked Serrano Chili Powder and Lemongrass Powder.

Toasted coconut & chicken lettuce wraps by SeasonWithSpice.com

The only missing item is a fruit.  Fresh mango or green papaya would be great for enhancing the flavor of this Toasted Coconut & Chicken Lettuce Wrap, but I opted this time for a creamy, rich avocado. 

Simply add the avocado and coconut-chicken mix on top of a large lettuce leaf, squeeze a lime wedge over everything, and enjoy this light, flavorful wrap as a fun, party appetizer, or as a family meal on a warm Saturday in the summer, with glasses of fresh watermelon juice to wash it down.

Toasted Coconut and Chicken Lettuce Wraps by SeasonWithSpice.com

Shop lemon grass powder, kaffir lime leaf powder and galangal powder from season with spice shop

Toasted Coconut & Chicken Lettuce Wraps 
by Season with Spice
Serves 5-6 as an appetizer or 2-3 as main course

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (about 1lb)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
2 large shallots – thinly sliced
1 tsp of Season with Spice’s Smoked Serrano Chili Powder
1/2 tsp of Season with Spice’s Lemongrass Powder (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves – roughly chopped
Dashes of salt, to taste
1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, or coconut oil
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce – whole leaves separated to create wraps
1 avocado – diced (or try diced mango)
 Lime wedges

Method:
1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the chicken breasts, lower heat to simmer, cover the pot, and cook for about 15-20 minutes. When the chicken is done – drain water, allow meat to cool, and pull into thin strips.
2. While the chicken is cooking in Step 1, take out coconut flakes and a small, non-stick skillet. Place the coconut flakes in the skillet, and toast over low heat until lightly brown & fragrant. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken pieces with shallots, 2/3 of the toasted coconut flakes, cilantro, smoked serrano chili powder, and lemongrass powder (optional). Season to taste with salt. Add lime juice & oil, and mix well.

To assemble:
Place the coconut-chicken salad mix on the lettuce wrap. Top with diced avocado or mango and some more coconut flakes, and squeeze lime juice over. Best served in separate bowls so everyone – whether it’s a family dinner or a summer party – can assemble their own wraps.

10 comments:

CreateWithMom said...

looks wonderful lovely presentation

Kankana said...

Lovely wrap for the season. The crunch from the lettuce, sweetness from the coconut and of course the chicken, makes a beautiful flavor and texture blend!

Nami said...

This is a beautiful dish. The look is perfect for summer season AND for a party, and coconut & chicken in a cold lettuce... DROOL!!! Such a wonderful summer food, Reese!

p.s. Thanks for the lovely email. I'll need a little more time to respond. Have been so busy, but will write you more later. Take good care and have a nice weekend!

mjskit @mjskitchen.com said...

Where was this recipe last week when I made lettuce wraps?! :) Mine were not near this exotic nor delicious. In fact, they were rather ho-hum. These would have made for a MUCH better meal. I love the simplicity and the spices you used sound great. I've never heard of lemongrass powder. YUM! These are definitely going to be my next lettuce wraps and I do like the idea of a little fruit. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Season with Spice said...

Thanks MJ. Always another time to make lettuce wraps again:) Lemongrass powder is very easy to use, especially on a busy day. I can quickly add it in marinades, stir fries or sauces.

Season with Spice said...

Thanks Kankana!

Claudia ~ Food with a View said...

I just found your beautiful blog through foodgawker. This is avery nice idea for bigger salad leaves and perfect for summer season - thanks for the inspiration!

Season with Spice said...

Thanks Claudia!

Ira Rodrigues said...

Very healthy and refreshing dish! i love wraps and your presentation really looks beautiful

Season with Spice said...

Thank you Ira!

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