Dinner Tonight: Minced Chicken in Lettuce Cups

After bumbling through the fridge for a few seconds, I laid eyes on a half-chicken and some Boston lettuce. Though the inspiration was quick, locating a recipe for "chicken lettuce cups" wasn't so easy. Suffice to say, when searching for the recipe the first 50 or so links mention P.F. Chang's within a sentence or two. No big surprises. That's where I, and probably a few million other people, had their first experience with this combo.

Unfortunately, the recipes I found looked suspicious. Most of them used ground chicken, which immediately turned me off. Eventually I wanted to know if this was an actual recipe or just something the chain created to deal with the Atkins diet craze a few years back.

I found my first clue in this Saveur article, which had a "minced chicken in lettuce cups" recipe adapted from a "famous Cantonese recipe for squab." And sure enough, after modifying my search to "quail lettuce cups" I ran across this recipe from Ming Tsai. Combining the two and utilizing the leftovers in my fridge, I created my own version. I'm sure the authentic choice of squab is best, but this chicken version was still delicious.

About the author: href="http://www.seriouseats.com/user/profile/Pauper?ick">Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is the co-founder of The Paupered Chef and spends most of his time playing with the new cooking gadgets he got from his wedding.

Dinner Tonight: Minced Chicken in Lettuce Cups

About This Recipe



  • 2 pounds chicken, skin removed and bones removed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, white part diced and green part chopped
  • 1 cup cremini mushroom, chopped
  • 8 leaves Boston, bibb, or iceberg lettuce
  • Salt and pepper


  1. 1

    Finely dice the chicken. I found a meat cleaver to work best, though a chefs knife will work, too.

  2. 2

    Pour the oil into a work or large iron skillet set over high heat. Add the ginger and scallion whites and stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Dump in the chicken and mushrooms. Continue stirring, breaking up the chicken pieces, and cook for about a minute, or until the chicken is white and no longer raw. Pour in the oyster sauce and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.

  3. 3

    Remove from the heat and add the scallion greens and chopped water chestnuts. Stir until everything is combined. Season with salt if necessary. Fill each lettuce cup with a little bit of the mixture and serve.


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