Archive for July, 2012

postheadericon Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups

Four words:  Sweet, Salty, Sour, Hot.  These fantastic Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups are so easy to make and are super healthy exploding with exciting Southeast Asian flavors in every bite.  The secret’s in the sauce so I like to double the sauce recipe to keep on hand to drizzle on sandwiches and satay.  Try ground turkey or even minced tofu instead of the chicken.  This is a great party dish because you can put out the filling and lettuce leaves and let everyone do your own thing.  Last Sunday, we threw a huge birthday party for the twins and while the kids we’re diving into the pizza, the grown-ups got to feast on these yummy flavor bombs.  One dad said, “this is the best food I’ve ever had at a toddler party!”   Who says you can’t have something for everyone at a kids party?  Of course, the Tiger Beer was a hit with moms and dads too!

Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups


  • Sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 fresh hot red or green pepper, preferably Thai, deseeded and finely sliced
  • Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced galangal or fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 fresh red or green chili, preferably Thai, finely sliced (deseeded if you prefer less heat)
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup canned chopped water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion (white and green parts)
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large butter lettuce leaves


  1. Make the sauce: Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cool slightly. Mix ¼ cup of the syrup with the ginger, lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce and chili in a small bowl. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Discard remaining syrup.
  2. Make the filling: Heat oil in a wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Add galangal, garlic and chili; stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground chicken and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add cilantro, green onion, lemongrass, fish sauce, crushed red pepper and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Dish out and transfer to a serving bowl.
  4. Serve chicken mixture with lettuce leaves and ginger lime dipping sauce, allowing guests to form their own wraps.

postheadericon Shu Mei Dumplings

Oh my, shu mei!  That’s what everyone says when they bite into these delicate dumplings which are juicy, light and delicious.  Who knew how easy these steamed dumplings are to make and that you can use the same filling to make wontons and potstickers?   You can substitute the ground chicken with turkey or pork or even tofu.  It’s super easy to steam a batch of these yummy morsels and freeze in a ziploc baggie.   Simply throw the frozen shu mei into a steamer over boiling water for 10 minutes and you have a fantastic appetizer in mere minutes.  My secret weapon for unexpected guests.

As the Culinary Ambassador to City of  Hope, I just demonstrated how to make shu mei with Dr. Michael Friedman, president and CEO of City of  Hope last Sunday at a private event.   My shu mei recipe calls for mushrooms which City of Hope researchers have identified as being a powerful Super Food meaning they can help fight and prevent cancer.  Make room for mushrooms!!

(pictured from left to right, Dr. Michael Friedman, me, Vivian Chen)

Shu Mei


  • 4 medium dried black mushrooms
  • 1/1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 10 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 10 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped carrot
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion with tops
  • 18 shu mei wrappers


  1. Soak the mushrooms in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft. Rinse them in cold water and drain. Squeeze out any excess water. Remove and discard the steams and cut the mushrooms into 1/4-inch pieces.
  2. Pour two cups warm water in a bowl. Add one teaspoon salt and stir to dissolve. Place the shrimp in the salt water and swirl. leave the shrimp in the salt water for 5 minutes, then rinse with cold water, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the shrimp into 1/4-inch diced pieces.
  3. Trim the excess fat from the chicken and cut into 1/4-inch diced pieces. In a small bowl, make the marinade by mixing the pepper, sesame oil, egg white, cornstarch, vegetable oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, ginger, carrot and onion. Add the chicken, shrimp and mushrooms. Mix well and set aside.
  4. To make the dipping sauce, mix the soy sauce, sugar, 1 tablespoon water and the chopped green onion in a small bowl.
  5. Place one tablespoon of the chicken and shrimp mixture in the center of the a shu mai wrapper and bring the edges up around the filling, leaving the top open. Repeat with the remaining shu mai wrappers.
  6. Place the dumplings in a single layer on a rack in a steam, cover and steam over boiling water for 12 minutes, adding boiling water if necessary.

Welcome to The Sweet
and Sour Chronicles!

Hi! I’m Katie Chin, an Asian food expert, cookbook author, tv host and food blogger. I'm also a mom, so I know what it takes to get dinner on the table in a busy household. I specialize in everyday Asian recipes for real people on real schedules and real budgets. more

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