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Lettuce Wraps with Chicken and Cellophane Noodles

This delightful wrap incorporates the best of Chinese ingredients

If you love to experiment with lettuce wraps, this Chinese recipe is fun to play with. As with many Chinese dishes, the prep work is a little intense. The sauce is outstanding - you'll find it tasty in a variety of other dishes as well.

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 teaspoons dry sherry
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated gingerroot
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, diced
1 jalapeno (optional)
1 8-oz can bamboo shoots, thinly sliced
1 8-oz can water chestnuts
1 package cellophane noodles
5 Tablespoons oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Lettuce leaves (large leaves in good shape: iceberg or bibb or lettuce of your choice)

Thickening sauce

2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar (or substitute with equal amount of sugar substitute)

Boil water and pour over shiitake mushrooms. Drain after half an hour. Remove the stems and mince.

In a separate bowl, make a marinade: cornstarch, sherry, water, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix and add chicken. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and blend in. This step can be done ahead of time and kept in the fridge for 1-2 hours or let sit for 30 minutes.

For the thickening sauce, combine all ingredients, mix well, and set aside.

Heat wok and add 3 tablespoons oil. Add chicken and cover in marinade. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes and remove chicken to bowl.

Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to wok. Maintain heat and stir in ginger, garlic, onion, and jalapeno. Continue stirring for 2-3 minutes, no longer, and add chicken. Toss to reheat and move all ingredients away from center of wok.

Stir the thickening sauce and add to center of wok. When it begins to bubble and thicken, begin tossing ingredients. Stir fry 1-2 minutes more or until hot.

Prepare cellophane noodles according to package directions and layer on plate. Add stir fry on top. Fill lettuce leaves with the combined stir fry and noodles.

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