Chinois Minced Garlic Chicken in Radicchio Cups


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Wolfgang PuckTake a look at my recipe and you’ll get a good idea of its versatility. While Chinese restaurants typically use iceberg lettuce cups. For example, I like to use radicchio leaves for their bright purple-red color and because they have a refreshing hint of bitterness that nicely complements the sweet and tangy flavors. Romaine leaves work fine, too. Whatever your choice of leaf, be sure to soak it in ice water to crisp it up. Most Chinese restaurants add extra crunch to the dish by including some deep-fried rice noodles in each lettuce cups. To make the recipe lighter and give it more color and flavor, I instead use a shredded vegetable salad. Click here for Wolfgang Puck's full introduction.

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  • 8 to 12 whole radicchio leaves, soaked for 15 minutes in ice water
  • 3/4 lb. ground chicken
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 6 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 C. densely packed baby spinach leaves, thoroughly washed and patted dry
  • 1/2 C. shredded celery
  • 1/2 C. shredded carrot
  • 1/2 C. very thinly sliced onion
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 green onions, trimmed and minced
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 C. Chinese plum wine
  • 1/4 C. chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint or cilantro

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Fill a large mixing bowl with ice cubes and water. Add the radicchio leaves and leave them to soak for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the ground chicken and cornstarch. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 Tbs. each of the soy sauce and peanut oil with 2 Tbs. of the rice wine vinegar and all of the sesame oil, and sherry wine vinegar. Add the spinach, celery, carrot, and onion, and toss and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the radicchio leaves and pat them thoroughly dry with paper towels. Arrange the leaves like cups on a large serving platter or individual serving plates. Divide the julienned vegetable salad mixture among the cups and set aside.

In a 10-inch skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. peanut oil over high heat until it just begins to give off wisps of smoke. Form the chicken into a large patty and carefully set it in the pan. Let it brown on one side for 3 to 4 minutes. Then add the garlic, ginger, green onions, and pepper flakes and break up the patty with a wooden spoon to combine it with the seasonings; continue to stir until the chicken is evenly browned, 3 to 4 minutes more. Pour in the remaining soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, the plum wine, and the broth, and continue cooking and stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated. Correct the seasoning to taste with a little more salt and pepper, if necessary.

Divide the chicken mixture equally among the radicchio cups. Sprinkle with the chopped mint or cilantro and serve immediately.

Yield: 2-4 servings

(Chef Wolfgang Puck’s TV series, “Wolfgang Puck’s Cooking Class,” airs Sundays on the Food Network. Also, his latest cookbook, “Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy,” is now available in bookstores. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, N.Y. 14207.)


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