Cecilia’s Minced Chicken in Lettuce Cups

Serves 6-8 as part of a chinese meal and 4-6 as a western-style entree.


  • 6 dried black mushrooms
  • 1 pound boned chicken thighs, dark meat, finely ground
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • ¼ cup finely diced Chinese sausage (lop chong) or Virginia ham
  • ⅓ cup (5 ounces) drained and diced canned water chestnuts
  • 2 teaspoons (about 2 stalks) minced green onions, white part only, plus additional, thinly sliced for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 6 to 8 crisp, trimmed iceberg lettuce leaves


In a small bowl, soak the dried mushrooms in hot water to cover for 15 minutes. Drain and chop them finely. You should end up with about ⅓ of a cup.

On a cutting board, use a cleaver or sharp knife to carefully remove the bones, tough tendons, and extra fat from the chicken. Mince the remaining meat and skin and set-aside until ready to use; you should have 6 ounces.

To make the sauce, whisk together half the wine with the soy and oyster sauces in a small bowl.

To make the filling, heat a large wok over high heat until a bead of water dances on the surface and evaporates. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the chicken, and quickly stir the meat to break it apart. Cook, stirring constantly, until a bit of pink remains, about 1 minute. Toss in the mushrooms and stir to combine well. Add the sausage, water chestnuts, and green onions and cook for 30 seconds or more. Pour in the reserved sauce, bring the liquid to a boil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with white pepper and remove the pan from the heat.

Turn the chicken mixture out onto a serving platter and scatter with pine nuts and sliced green onions. To serve, place a bit of the chicken mixture in a lettuce leaf and eat while the mixture is still warm.

Recipe courtesy Cecilia Chiang

Sonia’s Suggested Pairing: Chateau St. Jean 2007 Fumé Blanc, La Petite Etoile Vineyard, Russian River Valley


  1. Cecilia Chiang… What an incredible inspiration. Her business savvy was unchallenged. Her wisdom in the kitchen was remarkable. Love Her recipes. Loved the Mandoran.

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