Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups with Ginger Lime Dipping Sauce

by Katie Chin, Tastemaker in Residence


1 cup sugar 
1 cup water 
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger 
4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice 
1 tsp. rice vinegar or white vinegar 
2 tsp. fish sauce (nam pla) 
1 fresh hot red or green pepper, preferably Thai, deseeded and finely sliced 

2 Tbsp. high-heat cooking oil 
2 tsp. minced galangal or fresh ginger 
1 garlic clove, minced 
1 fresh red or green chili, preferably Thai, finely sliced (deseeded if you prefer less heat) 
1/2 pound ground chicken 
1/2 cup canned chopped water chestnuts, drained 
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro 
1 Tbsp. finely chopped green onion (white and green parts) 
1 Tbsp. minced lemongrass 
1 Tbsp. fish sauce (nam pla) 
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes 
salt and freshly ground black pepper 
8 large butter lettuce leaves 


  1. Make the sauce: Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cool slightly. Mix ¼ cup of the syrup with the ginger, lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce and chili in a small bowl. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Discard remaining syrup. 
  2. Make the filling: Heat oil in a wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Add galangal, garlic and chili; stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground chicken and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes. 
  3. Add cilantro, green onion, lemongrass, fish sauce, crushed red pepper and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Dish out and transfer to a serving bowl.
  4. Serve chicken mixture with lettuce leaves and ginger lime dipping sauce, allowing guests to form their own wraps.