That Spicy Chick

Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups

These Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups are perfect for a light lunch or appetizer, healthy, and super delicious! They’re ready from start to finish in just 35 minutes!

Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups garnished with spring onion greens on a white round place. In the top left of photo (center of plate) is a glass serving bowl filled with chili chicken mince.

Happy New Year everyone!! 🤗💛

I hope you’ve all had a lovely time with your family and friends over the holidays, and ate lots and LOTS of good food! 😃 I sure as heck did! And I have ZERO regrets. 😉

Here’s hoping everyone has had a wonderful start to the year, and may 2019 be everything you want it to be for you and your loved ones! 🤗

Now that it’s January and after several weeks of excess and indulgence last month, my body has been craving some feel-good healthy food – like these Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups! 🙌

Four Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups on a round white plate placed on top of and gray flower patterned napkin. Small plate of spring onion greens in the center of the plate for garnishing, and plate of butter lettuce leaves on small plate at the top left of photo. Scattered spring onion greens on the white background in front of plate.

These Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups are one of my all-time favorite light lunches. Not only are they super tasty, they’re also healthy and very filling considering they’re lettuce cups!

Four Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups on a round white plate with a small plate of spring onion greens in the center for garnishing. Pan of Chili Chicken mince on the top left corner, and scattered spring onion greens on the white background.

They are another recipe from one of my favorite cuisines – Indo-Chinese, which as I mentioned in my Lightened-Up Indo-Chinese Chili Chicken post, is basically using Chinese cooking techniques (and some Chinese ingredients too) and blending them with Indian ingredients to create fusion food with both cuisines. Truly some of the best dishes I’ve eaten in my 20-something years have come from this amazing cuisine! ❤️

Close up photo of a Chili Chicken Lettuce Cup garnished with spring onion greens on a white round place. In the top left of photo (center of plate) is a glass serving bowl filled with chili chicken mince. Scattered spring onion greens on the white background at the top right of photo.

These Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups were inspired by my original Chili Chicken recipe and the ingredients and cooking method between the two is quite similar. But there are a couple of differences I will mention.

CHILI CHICKEN LETTUCE CUPS VS. LIGHTENED-UP INDO-CHINESE CHILI CHICKEN

  1. Instead of using diced chicken breasts, I use ground/minced chicken and chop up the ingredients nice and small.
  2. While my original Lightened-Up Indo-Chinese Chili Chicken is great for a main course dinner meal when paired with steamed rice, these Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups are perfect for a quick and light lunch or appetizer that you can serve at parties.
  3. Lastly, there aren’t any Thai Dried Chilies or any killer spicy hot sauces in these chicken lettuce cups. No Mad Dog 357 Hot Sauce, just Encona West Indian Original Hot Pepper Sauce – which has a similar heat level to Tabasco’s Original Hot Pepper Sauce, but is just slightly hotter.
Close up photo of a Chili Chicken Lettuce Cup garnished with spring onion greens on a white round place. In the center of plate is a glass serving bowl filled with chili chicken mince. Scattered spring onion greens on the white background in front of the plate.

Overall, there’s less spice and chilies because you don’t want to lose the wonderful cooling effect of the lettuce by using too strong or overpowering heat elements. 🙌

That’s pretty much it for the differences actually. This recipe has the same great flavors that my original Chili Chicken has and is a total hit whenever I serve it up as an appetizer at dinner parties! I obviously love them a lot too because they’re quick and easy to make for lunch and great when you’re trying to eat healthy after, say, a couple of weeks of indulging on all your FAVORITE sugary desserts and rich foods over a certain holiday month! 😉 🙋‍♀️

Chili Chicken Mince in a deep brown pan garnished with spring onion greens. Pan is cut off from photo on either side and is on top of a ruffled white and gray flower patterned napkin.

To make these gorgeous and tasty lettuce cups, all you have to do is first make the chili chicken mince and then spoon it into lettuce leaves.

HOW TO MAKE CHILI CHICKEN LETTUCE CUPS

  1. Start by sautéing some minced red onion, ginger, spring onion whites, lots of yummy garlic, and red and green chilies for a bit of heat.
  2. Add the minced chicken and continue sautéing and breaking up the lumps as it cooks.
  3. Then, stir in some red and green bell peppers for a bit of crunch. Next, pour in the spicy-sweet and tangy sauce to coat the chicken mixture in the pan.
  4. Add some spring onion greens and continue cooking for a few seconds longer before switching off the heat.
  5. Then to serve, spoon the chili chicken mince into Butter or Bibb lettuce leaves and sprinkle some more spring onion greens over them to garnish.
  6. And then…DEVOUR!! 😋
Close up photo of right side of plate of Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups garnished with spring onion greens on a white round place. In the center of plate is a glass serving bowl filled with chili chicken mince - cut off from photo from the left.

CAN I MAKE THIS VEGETARIAN?

Definitely! Use an assortment of your favorite mushrooms in place of the ground chicken and chop them up nice and small. Or, feel free to use tofu instead and chop up a block into small cubes.

OTHER WAYS TO USE THE CHILI CHICKEN MINCE:

  • Have it over a bed of steamed white rice to turn it into a filling and healthy dinner.
  • Eat it throughout the week in sandwiches, salads, or wraps. (The latter is one of my other favorite light lunches!)
  • Make a Chili Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich – odd as it might sound, cheese actually tastes really, really good with this chili chicken mince! I highly recommend swiss, pepper jack, or muenster cheese. 👌
  • Go one step beyond and make some Chili Chicken Minced nooooooodles!!! Or pasta! 😍 Just boil some egg noodles, linguini, spaghetti, etc. and add it to the pan with the minced chili chicken once it’s done cooking. Garnish with spring onion greens and happily slurp away my friend! Mwaaaahhh! 💋

The cooling effect of the lettuce paired with the mouthwatering and spicy chili chicken mince is absolutely divine! I hope you love these Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups as much as I do, and wish everyone a very Happy January! 🤗

Close up photo of a Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups garnished with spring onion greens on a white round place. In the center of the plate is a small white plate of spring onion greens in the center for garnishing.
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Close up photo of a Chili Chicken Lettuce Cup garnished with spring onion greens on a white round place. In the top left of photo (center of plate) is a glass serving bowl filled with chili chicken mince. Scattered spring onion greens on the white background at the top right of photo.

Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups

These Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups are perfect for a light lunch or appetizer, healthy, and super delicious! They’re ready from start to finish in just 35 minutes!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 25-28 lettuce cups
  • Category: Healthy
  • Method: Stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Indo-Chinese

Ingredients

  • 7-8 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 2 TBLS Ginger (about 1.5″ chunk) – minced
  • 1-4 Red Chilies (Holland or Bird’s Eye), to taste and deseeded depending on desired heat level – minced
  • 1-2 Green Chilies (Holland or Bird’s Eye), to taste and deseeded depending on desired heat level – minced
  • ½ Red Onion – minced
  • ¼ Green Bell Pepper– chopped small
  • ¼ Red Bell Pepper– chopped small
  • 3 Spring Onions (Scallions) – chopped, whites & greens separated (reserve half of the greens for garnish)
  • 1.5 TSP Corn Starch
  • 2 TSP Garlic Paste*
  • 2 TSP Ginger Paste*
  • 3 TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
  • 1.5 TSP Sweet Dark Soy Sauce (the thick and viscous type)
  • 1 TBLS + 1 TSP Spicy Vinegar (or regular white vinegar. I use Lee Kum Kee’s Spicy Vinegar.)
  • 1.5 TSP Encona West Indian Original Hot Pepper Sauce (can be substituted with Tabasco Original for a milder option, Tabasco Habanero Pepper Sauce, or any other vinegar based red pepper hot sauce)
  • 1.5 TBLS Asian style Chili Sauce (such as Tso Hin Kee Chili Sauce)
  • 1.5 TBLS Tomato Ketchup
  • 3 TBLS Water
  • 1.5 TBLS Peanut Oil (or any other cooking oil)
  • 1 TSP Chili Oil (optional)
  • 1 TSP Sesame Oil
  • 480g Minced Chicken
  • 1-2 TBLS Water (if and as needed while cooking)

To Serve:

  • 1 head Butter or Bibb Lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed, and dried (I used Butter Lettuce)
  • Reserved spring onion greens

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Chop/mince the garlic, ginger, red chilies, green chilies, red onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and spring onion (whites & greens separated). Place in individual small bowls and set aside. (Deseed chilies if desired or omit entirely if you prefer less heat.)
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the corn starch, garlic paste, ginger paste, and low sodium light soy sauce, sweet dark soy sauce, spicy vinegar, Encona West Indian Original Hot Pepper Sauce, chili sauce, tomato ketchup, and 3 TBLS water. Mix with a spoon until blended well. Set aside.
  3. Rinse and drain the minced chicken.

For the Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups:

  1. Heat peanut, sesame, and chili oil (if using) over medium-high heat in a medium sized sauté pan or wok. Once the oil has heated, add the red onion and sauté until they become slightly tender (about 1 minute).
  2. Add the spring onion whites and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds more.
  3. Add the garlic, red and green chilies and continue sautéing for another minute.
  4. Add the minced chicken and cook for 10 minutes, stirring and breaking up the lumps with your spatula/wooden spoon as it cooks.
  5. Add the red and green bell pepper and stir until they soften a little – about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Pour in the sauce and stir to combine and coat the chicken and other ingredients. Cook while stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. If the mixture starts to looks a little dry, add water if needed.
  7. Add half of the spring onion greens and stir to combine. Cook for 3-40 seconds, then turn off the stove and remove from heat.
  8. To Serve: Spoon chili chicken mince mixture into lettuce leaves and garnish with remainder spring onion greens.+

Notes

  1. *You can usually find Garlic PasteGinger Paste, and also Ginger Garlic Paste at an Indian or Asian Grocery Store or try online. If using Ginger Garlic Paste, use 3 teaspoons. If you can’t find either of them, blend equal amounts of roughly chopped garlic and ginger together with 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable/olive oil. I recommend making a small quantity – ½ cup chopped ginger and ½ cup chopped garlic, as you will only need 4 TSP in total for this recipe. This paste can be stored in the fridge for about a week and used for quick and easy cooking in other recipes such as pasta, noodles, and stir-fries.
  2. +If the leaves of your lettuce are on the smaller size, you can spoon the mixture into two leaves like I did (double up the lettuce leaves for more support).
  3. The chili chicken mince will keep in the fridge for up to 3-5 days and you can use it in wraps and sandwiches as well. A wrap made with this Chili Chicken Mince is actually another one of my favorite light lunches! Totally delish and definitely give it a try if you have some leftover chili chicken mince! 👍

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6 Lettuce Cups
  • Calories: 244
  • Sugar: 7.5g
  • Sodium: 577.2mg
  • Fat: 11.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.7g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 7.7g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.5g
  • Fiber: 2.8g
  • Protein: 20.9g
  • Cholesterol: 82.6mg
Long Pin - Top photo: Close up photo of a Chili Chicken Lettuce Cup garnished with spring onion greens on a white round place. In the top left of photo (center of plate) is a glass serving bowl filled with chili chicken mince. Scattered spring onion greens on the white background at the top right of photo. Bottom Photo: Four Chili Chicken Lettuce Cups on a round white plate with a small plate of spring onion greens in the center for garnishing. Pan of Chili Chicken mince on the top left corner, and scattered spring onion greens on the white background.

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