One of my favourite restaurants in Canada is Cactus Club Cafe. And I kid you not, I order their spicy chicken lettuce wraps every time that I go there. Whether it’s to share with my friends as an appetizer or to devour as my main course. This dish is always on the bill. So, I was inspired to recreate this favourite at home. I was pretty impressed with my results and now I am sharing it with you. Brace yourselves and experience Szechuan chicken lettuce wraps with spicy mayo!
Szechuan cuisine originates from southwest China in the province of Sichuan. The cuisine is comprised of bold and spicy flavours and these lettuce wraps are no exception. Each bite is bursting with bold and spicy flavours. Although this dish isn’t very spicy compared to traditional Szechuan dishes, which are immersed in cups of chilli peppers. But that being said, these chicken lettuce wraps still have a little kick to them. I wouldn’t recommend these for the faint-hearted.
Just imagine, crispy chicken strips coated in Asian flavoured breadcrumbs, yes I am talking soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. And it doesn’t stop there. Toss the chicken in noodles, cilantro, green onions, sweet chilli sauce and sesame seeds. Wrap it all up in a piece of iceberg lettuce, dip it in homemade spicy mayo and crunch away. Nope, life does not get better than that.
2 chicken breasts, cut into small 1 or 2-inch strips
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 and 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (black)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chow mein noodles (Farkay brand)
1/4 cup green onions or scallions, sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup peanuts
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
2 teaspoons white and black sesame seeds
1 head iceberg lettuce, cut in half through the stem
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce, or more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cooking pan with foil and spray or brush with cooking oil.
In a medium skillet, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add panko breadcrumbs and cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring continuously until the breadcrumbs start to brown. Be careful not to burn them, you only want them to slightly turn a golden colour. Remove from heat and mix in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and set aside.
In a small bowl, beat the egg and mayonnaise together. Pour mixture into a shallow dish and set aside. Place flour into another shallow dish and set aside.
Fully coat each chicken strip with flour, then with egg, and lastly with the panko breadcrumb mixture.
Place the coated chicken strips onto your cooking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and no longer pink inside.
Place chicken strips into a large bowl and add chow mein noodles, green onions, cilantro, peanuts, and sweet chili sauce. Toss to coat.
Transfer chicken mixture into serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Add lime wedges.
In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, hot sauce, and lime juice together.
Serve spicy mayo on the side or drizzle on top of chicken mixture.
To eat, scoop several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, drizzle extra spicy mayo on top, and wrap like a taco.
This dish is best served right away. This way the noodles will stay crunchy. After an hour or so, the noodles will start to go soft.