Spicy Chicken Sausage in Lettuce Cups

These are little rounds of spicy chicken goodness. The chicken is super tender and has layers and layers of flavor. First you get the chicken, then the salty fish sauce and oyster sauce, then the savory garlic and shallots, and finally the heat from the jalapenos. All in one bite. The crisp lettuce wraps are the perfect vehicle and the dipping sauce gives it a final tang and spice. The recipe is from this month's Bon Appetit - I'm often a little intimidated by their recipes, so it was especially satisfying to have it turn out almost exactly like the picture. I don't usually cook with Asian flavors, but I now have a giant bottle of fish sauce thanks to the limited selection at the store yesterday, so that's about to change. Game on, fish sauce. Game on.

Makes 2 servings as a main dish (at least a dozen, I honestly forgot to count), or 4 as a side
Total time to cook: 1 hour

3/4 to 1 lb of ground chicken (I had the fine folks at Eastern Market grind up chicken breasts)
4 tbsp fish sauce
1 jalapeno (the recipe calls for a Thai or serrano chile, but I couldn't find those), finely chopped
1 large shallot, minced
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 garlic clove, minced
Vegetable oil
Bibb lettuce
Juice from one lime
2 tbsp sugar
- In a medium bowl, combine chicken, two tablespoons of fish sauce, half of the jalapeno, shallot, oyster sauce, flour and garlic until well blended.
- Create the sausage rounds, about 2 inches in diameter and no more than 1 centimeter thick, and arrange them in a single layer on plates. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is chilling, mix the dipping sauce by combining the remaining fish sauce, jalapeno, lime juice and sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
- To cook the chicken, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium pan. Add rounds and cook for about two minutes on each side. 
- Quickly pat finished rounds with a paper towel to get rid of any excess oil. Use another tablespoon of vegetable oil for each batch. 
- Serve immediately with the lettuce cups and dipping sauce.

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