Wow, so it has been quite some time since my last blog recipe! I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately (to see where I’ve been going, you can follow #dineandfashtravels on my Instagram), which has made keeping up with the regular recipes challenging.
But, alas, here we are! I’m back in town and back in the kitchen, so I’m pretty pumped! I’ve teamed up with Canola and I’m sharing one of my tried and true recipes with you guys today – my Asian chicken lettuce wraps. It’s a quick and easy, healthy recipe that is sure to please everyone.
The inspiration for this recipe post came from a farm to table event I attended last week with Canola, where we actually got to eat BRUNCH for dinner! You guys know I’m a brunch enthusiast, so this event was right up my alley. Chef Matt Basile of Lisa Marie (i.e. Fidel Gastro, himself) whipped up the tastiest menu using Canola oil in each dish, consisting of Huevos Rancheros, Singapore-style chicken and waffles, Eggs Benny poutine, shakshuka, pancakes, cold soba noodle salad – there was SO. MUCH. FOOD. My mouth is watering as I type this!
But apart from feasting on the yummiest food at the end, we first learned about Canola oil and the individual Canadian farmers who produce it. Farmer Jeannette Andrashewski taught us so many interesting facts about farming that I had no idea about and shared her personal farming story.
Like many other Canadian farmers, her grandparents came to Canada as immigrants, and put their hearts and souls into farming the land so they could provide for their family – a tradition that she carries on to this day. It was nice to be able to put a face and a personal story to farming, which is not something we get to do all the time, as we usually take where our food comes from for granted.
Like me, I bet you didn’t know that:
- 97% of farms in Canada are family-owned
- Only 1/32 of the entire world is actually farmable
- Canola oil is a Canadian product and there are about 43,000 Canola growers in Canada. However, only 2% of all Canadians are farmers
We also learned about how Canola oil is produced, what the Canola seeds look like, and how they’re quality tested. I’ve enjoyed cooking with Canola oil for a long time, so I was happy to learn all about its benefits (it’s a good source of vitamins E and K, is the oil with the least amount of saturated fats, and has a tonne of omega 3 fats, which our bodies don’t naturally produce).
So, when I got home and opened up my goodie bag from the event and saw that there was a bottle of Canola oil inside, I knew I wanted to share a recipe using this local, Canadian product!
I love using Canola oil for many recipes for several reasons. It’s the best oil for frying because it has a high smoke point; and it’s great for ethnic food because it has a neutral flavour (as compared to olive oil, which wouldn’t be suitable for an Asian dish). I used the Canola oil in 2 ways for this dish: to prepare the ground chicken filling for the lettuce wraps and for deep frying the vermicelli noodles. See below for the full recipe.
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 1 head Boston bibb lettuce
- 1/2 yellow or white onion chopped finely
- 2 scallions chopped
- 2 carrots chopped finely
- 1 stalk celery chopped finely
- 1/4 cup red or purple cabbage julienned or shredded
- 4 cups Canola oil
- 1 tbsp. sesame oil
- 4 tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp. sriracha sauce
- 1 bundle vermicelli noodles
- Carefully take apart the head of lettuce (ensuring not to rip the leaves). Wash, let drain and pat dry. Set aside.
- Add 2 tbsp. of Canola oil to a sauce pan or shallow frying pan on medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add ground chicken. Brown the chicken, stirring frequently to break up all the large chunks. Drain about 3/4 of excess oil and chicken fat.
- When the chicken is browned and just under fully cooked through, add onions, celery, carrots, rice wine vinegar, Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, Sriracha sauce, and sesame oil. Stir to coat the chicken evenly. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover to let cook for 5-7 minutes.
- In a deep frying pan or pot over high heat, add the rest of the Canola oil. When the oil is hot, very carefully drop the vermicelli noodles inside using a spider strainer or slotted spoon. The vermicelli noodles will fry and puff up quickly. As soon as one side has puffed up, flip the noodles over and let the other side puff up. Remove immediately from the oil and do not let the noodles burn. Place in a strainer or on top of paper towel to remove excess oil.
- When the vegetables have become translucent and the chicken is cooked through, sprinkle scallions over top, stir to incorporate and remove pan from heat. Set aside.
- When you are ready to assemble, add a small dab of Hoisin sauce on top of one lettuce cup, add some purple cabbage, spoon some of the ground chicken on top, and top with some pieces of vermicelli noodle for crunch. You can also top with toasted sesame seeds or Sriracha mayo (which is made using equal parts Sriracha sauce and mayonnaise). Serve and enjoy!
What are some of your favourite recipes using Canola oil? Tell me in the comments below!
Photographs from the event by Josh Tenn-Yuk courtesy of Canola Eat Well. All other photos by yours truly.
*This post was done in partnership with Canola Eat Well. But as always, all opinions are 100% my own.