Chicken Lettuce Cups

When I was a kid I was obsessed with chicken lettuce cups, especially the chicken lettuce cups at Baumgart’s.  A Jewish deli by day, a Chinese restaurant by night, and an old school soda fountain all day – could you get much better than that?

It used to be THE restaurant to go to on Friday or Saturday night and it was always a treat when our parents took us.  Our order was usually the same: chicken lettuce cups, chow fun, sesame chicken, and homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert.  Everything was always delicious but the two standouts were the chicken lettuce cups and the homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream.

So when I had heard that my mom made a recipe that tasted exactly like Baumgart’s chicken lettuce cups I had to try it.

This was my first time cooking with ginger and I was pretty excited about it.  First you chop the ginger and the scallions. Your apartment will start smelling like a Chinese restaurant – yum!

Then you add them with vegetable oil to a smoking wok.  Stir fry until the ginger becomes fragrant, then add the chicken.  The recipe calls for cubed chicken breasts but my mom had already found a fabulous short cut – ground chicken.  It worked out perfectly.

Once the chicken is cooked add in the Worcestershire, hoisin, rice wine vinegar (unseasoned), and pine nuts.  That’s it. Serve with iceberg lettuce leaves.

We think it could have used a little heat, note for next time. Overall it was pretty close to the Baumgart’s version and we licked the bowl clean.  I wish I could say the same for the mint chocolate chip ice cream we had for dessert.  I love Dreyer’s slow churn mint chocolate chip ice cream but it just doesn’t compare to the homemade version from Baumgart’s with giant chunks of real chocolate in actual mint (not green) ice cream.  Oh well one out of two ain’t bad.


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