January. The joyous time of year when gyms are full to the brim, and you spend 20 minutes standing in line with 5 other mournful-looking new-years-resolutioners waiting to get on the treadmill. Considering that I December was mostly comprised of stuffing and drinking myself stupid, on the proviso that I would shed some pounds come 2013, I really shouldn’t complain.
I will hate my life for the next 4 weeks while I attempt to snack on only nuts & fruit, cut my wine consumption in half, and workout at least 3 times a week. But I will do it, because I am good like that. The upside of being a relatively decent cook, is that I know I can still enjoy my food and eat healthily. Behold the chicken lettuce cups. It may not be a baked potato covered in butter and cheese [wipes dribble off chin... pull yourself together Sarah, its only January 3rd!], but its a lot better than some of the nonsense I see people eating on diets. Scary looking green juice detox anyone?
This dish is something I would probably choose from a Chinese takeout menu, which is obviously forbidden during ‘BANuary‘. But then I haven’t ordered Chinese takeout for over a year now, anyway. It used to be a rainy Sunday afternoon (OK, a hungover Sunday afternoon) thing that my ex and I did on a far too regular basis. And its one of the few things that I just don’t ever feel like doing anymore. So at least I don’t have to give that up this month.
Instead, I make my own version! At least this way I get to control what goes in it. It’s also much cheaper, and doesn’t require me to wait for a delivery guy to show up at my door.
This is perfect for one of those I-got-home-from-work-way-too-late-but-still-feel-like-cooking-dinner nights. It only takes a few minutes to put together, and doesn’t leave you feeling like an overstuffed pig… Handy if all you ever seem to do is work, eat and sleep. Which is how my life feels most of the time these days. Hooray for 2013!
Chicken Lettuce Cups
Serves: 3-4 people
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 1 head of butter lettuce
- 1lb ground chicken
- a handful of finely chopped mushrooms
- 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 fresh red chile, de-seeded and sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsps soy sauce
- 2 tbsps rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsps water
- 2 tsps garlic and red chili paste
- handful of peanuts, chopped
- Fry mushrooms in a little olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chicken and stir around until the chicken starts to brown (about 4-5mins).
- Add onions, ginger & garlic, stir for a further 2 minutes.
- Incorporate all the remaining ingredients other than the fresh chili and peanuts. Stir for a further 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle in the chopped peanuts and chili, stir and serve.
Take a lettuce leaf, pile on some chicken and try to get it all in your mouth without spilling any. I bet you can’t do it!