Black Tea Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Recipe for The Daring Kitchen
Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.
Cooking with tea?  Who woulda thunk it?  When I found out that this month’s Daring Kitchen Challenge was to cook a savory dish using tea, the only reason that I wasn’t surprised was because I’d done it before.  A long while back, in a moment of sheer MacGuyverism, I decided that since I couldn’t tea-smoke chicken in my NYC apartment without bringing in the fire department, I’d try to make a marinade for it using black tea.  The resulting mixture, which I coined “hell broth” for it’s spicy, fragrant scent, was a great success.  The chicken was diced and tucked into crisp leaves of bibb lettuce and dunked into a zippy hoisin sauce.  Tea was apparently meant for so much more than just sipping.

You’ll want to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this one – the meat holds the marinade so well, and it holds up to grilling while staying perfectly tender.  This makes enough filling for wraps as an entree, but you could easily halve this for a lighter appetizer.

Black Tea Chicken Lettuce Wraps

For the Chicken
1/4 c. of black tea leaves (Ceylon)
1 c. of boiling water
1 inch of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbs. of sherry
2 tbs. of honey
3 tbs. of dark soy
1 tbs. of sesame oil
1-2 tbs. of chili paste (to taste)
pinch of white pepper

For the Filling
1/2 oz. of dried black trumpet mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water
1 shallot, minced
1/2 c. of water chestnuts, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 head of boston or bibb lettuce, cleaned
crispy rice noodles (optional)

For the Dipping Sauce
1 tbs. of soy
1 tbs. of honey
1 tbs. of chili paste
1 tbs. of sesame oil
1 tbs. of hoisin sauce
1 tbs. of chinese mustard
1 tbs. of rice wine vinegar
splash of water

Begin by steeping the tea in the boiling water until it comes to room temperature.  Strain the tea leaves and cool the liquid completely.  Add the ginger, garlic, sherry, honey, soy, sesame oil, chili paste and white pepper to the tea and stir well.  Add the chicken and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Strain marinade from chicken and add to a sauce pan.  Add the trumpet mushrooms and bring to a boil.  Allow liquid to reduce by 1/2 and add the shallot, water chestnuts and 2 of the scallions (reserving one for garnish).  Continue to cook until the shallots are translucent and then set aside.

Heat a grill or grill pan on high and brush with canola oil.  Grill chicken until cooked completely through and then let rest for 5 minutes.  Dice chicken and add to the mushroom mixture.  Toss to combine.

Make the dipping sauce by mixing all ingredients well.

To eat, spoon a few tablespoons of the chicken into a lettuce leaf and top with scallions and crispy rice noodles.  Roll up the lettuce leaf and dunk into the dipping sauce.  Eat away.

6 thoughts on “Black Tea Chicken Lettuce Wraps”

  1. I think your marinated chicken sounds delicious – black tea would be great with ginger and soy. And I love lettuce wraps because there are extra vegetables involved! 🙂 Thanks so much for taking part in this month's challenge.

    1. Thank you! Something about the cool crunch of lettuce and water chestnuts with the spicy chicken makes for some great eating 🙂

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