Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups at The White House


January 11, 2017

Author: KatieChin

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Katie at The White House

Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups at The White House

Watching President Obama’s farewell address last night brought back the glorious memories of being a guest chef at the annual Easter Egg Roll at The White House in 2013.   I was there on behalf of City of Hope and its Super Foods initiative.  It was the highest honor to participate and show families how to incorporate healthy cancer-fighting foods into their daily diets.  Meeting the First Family was exhilararting.  My heard was beating so fast but all I remember was them being incredible warm and kind and the last words they uttered were, “you go cook it off girl, go cook it off!”  The greatest memory of a lifetime.

Here is the recipe for the Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups I made that day.  If you’d like to view the video from my demonstration that day, click here.

Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups at The White House


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 fresh hot red or green pepper, preferably Thai, deseeded and finely sliced
  • Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced galangal or fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 fresh red or green chili, preferably Thai, finely sliced (deseeded if you prefer less heat)
  • 1/4 cup chopped white button mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup canned chopped water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion (white and green parts)
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large butter lettuce leaves


  1. Make the sauce: Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cool slightly. Mix ¼ cup of the syrup with the ginger, lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce and chili in a small bowl. Transfer to a small serving bowl. Discard remaining syrup.
  2. Make the filling: Heat oil in a wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Add galangal, garlic and chili; stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and ground chicken and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Add water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add cilantro, green onion, lemongrass, fish sauce, crushed red pepper and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Dish out and transfer to a serving bowl.
  4. Serve chicken mixture with lettuce leaves and ginger lime dipping sauce, allowing guests to form their own wraps.