I love tacos. My love began the minute I took a bite of an Old El Paso beef taco in 1980 and I haven't looked back ever since. Of course, tacos have changed quite a bit since then. The crunchy fried shell got a softer and smoother makeover into a soft tortilla. The meat learned how to be flavored without a packet and the toppings are not from a can. Everything is made from fresh ingredients and there are so many great combinations to make. Having explored many versions, I opted this week to try lettuce as the shell. This is also known as a Lady Ta Ta taco and with that name why wouldn't you try it? The filling I chose is totally off the beaten path and some might even accuse me of sacrilege using lettuce! I think it is a fun twist and totally delicious and light.
Because I was feeling totally wild and crazy, I attempted to make an Asian themed chicken taco. Instead of a chili powder based marinade, I went for a turmeric, soy sauce and lime marinade. I tossed the chicken in a cilantro sauce, put it into a crunchy lettuce wrap, and then topped it with sliced mango, peanuts, cilantro, and a warm peanut sauce. The result was fun, pretty easy to make and delicious.
You can swap shrimp for chicken and play around with the flavors a little. I hope you like tacos as much as I do. cause this recipe is great for a week night dinner.
Grilled Cilantro Chicken Tacos in Lettuce Cups with Mango and Peanut Dressing
4 Chicken Breasts, cut into strips
2 Teaspoons of Mild Currry Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger or a small bulb of fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
1 Teaspoon of Turmeric
1 Garlic Clove, sliced
1 pinch of chili flakes
2 Limes, juice to squeeze on tacos
2 Cups Cilantro Leaves, washed and dried
1 Small Clove Garlic, finely minced
1/2 Bunch Greens Onions
½ Cup of Olive Oil
1 Limes, juice only
½ Teaspoon of Salt and Ground Pepper
1 Cup of Peanuts
12Large, Whole Leaves of Butter Lettuce, cleaned and Dried
1 Mango, sliced and julienned into match sticks
Optional: Shred some red cabbage and Toss with some sesame oil for more crunch and color
Peanut Dipping Sauce:
3/4 Cup Peanut Butter, natural, non-sugar brand
1 1/2 Cups of unsweetened coconut milk
1 Teaspoon of Asian Chii Paste (optional)
1 Teaspoon Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar or Agave Nectar
1/8 Cup Boiling Water, Plus a little more if sauce is too thick
For the Chicken:
1. Marinate the Chicken in the marinade of curry, turmeric, ginger, soy, chilis, and garlic.
2. Heat the grill to medium high. Oil the grill before putting the chicken on the grill. Grill on each side for about 3-4 minutes. If they are not done, they can be finished in the oven for another few minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and toss with the cilantro Sauce
For the Cilantro Sauce:
1. Place all the ingredients but the oil for the sauce in a blender or food processor and pulse until the herbs are minced. Drizzle in the oil with the blade on until the mixture is together. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.
For the Peanut Dipping Sauce:
1. Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan . Whisk in the peanut butter, chili paste, vinegar, and brown sugar. Once it is combined you can whisk in some warm water to loosen the sauce up and make it creamy. For Best results, put the peanut mixture in a blender and add the warm water to the blender. Add a pinch of two of salt. Place the sauce in a small bowl.
To Make the Lettuce Wraps:
1. Place the chicken, a little peanut sauce, mango, and ground peanuts in a lettuce wrap and squeeze lime juice over the tacos. You can also use some shredded red cabbage to add extra color and crunch.