One of my favourite restaurants here in Canada is Cactus Club Cafe. And I kid you not, I order their spicy chicken lettuce wraps every time that I go there. Whether it's to share with my friends as an appetizer or to devour as my main course. This dish is always on the bill. So, I was inspired to recreate this favourite at home. I was pretty impressed with my results and now I am sharing it with you. Brace yourselves and experience Szechuan chicken lettuce wraps with spicy mayo!
Szechuan cuisine originates from southwest China in the province of Sichuan. The cuisine is comprised of bold and spicy flavours and these lettuce wraps are no exception. Each bite is bursting with bold and spicy flavours. Although this dish isn't very spicy compared to traditional Szechuan dishes, which are immersed in cups of chilli peppers. But that being said, these chicken lettuce wraps still have a little kick to them. I wouldn't recommend these for the faint-hearted.
Just imagine, crispy chicken strips coated in Asian flavoured breadcrumbs, yes I am talking soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. And it doesn't stop there. Toss the chicken in noodles, cilantro, green onions, sweet chilli sauce and sesame seeds. Wrap it all up in a piece of iceberg lettuce, dip it in homemade spicy mayo and crunch away.
How to Make Spicy Szechuan Chicken Lettuce Wraps
To make these lettuce wraps, here's exactly what you will need to do:
- Prepare the panko breadcrumb mixture. Heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add panko breadcrumbs and cook until they start to brown. Remove from heat and mix in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Prepare the chicken. Fully coat each piece of chicken with flour, then dip into an egg and mayonnaise mixture, and lastly into the panko breadcrumb mixture. Place onto a lined cooking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
- Prepare lettuce wrap filling. Place chicken into a large bowl and add chow mein noodles, green onions, cilantro, peanuts, and sweet chili sauce. Toss to coat.
- Serve. Transfer mixture into serving dish and sprinkle sesame seeds on top and add some lime wedges. Serve with a head of iceberg lettuce, cut in half through the stem.
- Prepare spicy mayo. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, hot sauce, and lime juice together.
- Eat. Scoop a couple spoonfuls of the chicken mixture into a piece of iceberg lettuce, drizzle some spicy mayo on top, wrap it like a taco, and crunch away. Life does not get better than that.
And guess what? Our version is healthier because the chicken is baked and not deep-fried in a bucket of oil! Finally, a dish that you won't feel guilty about! You're welcome 🙂Print
Szechuan Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Mayo (Cactus Club Copycat)
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
Spice it up and make copycat Szechuan chicken lettuce wraps with spicy mayo from the comfort of your own home with this easy to follow recipe. Plus, it is healthier than the original!
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into small 1 or 2-inch strips
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 + ¼ cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (black)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fried wontons* or chow mein noodles (Farkay brand)
- ¼ cup green onions or scallions, sliced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup peanuts
- ½ cup sweet chili sauce
- 2 teaspoons white and black sesame seeds
- lime wedges
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, cut in half through the stem
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce, or more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cooking pan with foil and spray or brush with cooking oil.
- In a medium skillet, heat sesame oil over medium heat. Add panko breadcrumbs and cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring continuously until the breadcrumbs start to brown. Be careful not to burn them, you only want them to slightly turn a golden colour. Remove from heat and mix in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and set aside.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg and mayonnaise together. Pour mixture into a shallow dish and set aside. Place flour into another shallow dish and set aside.
- Fully coat each chicken strip with flour, then with egg, and lastly with the panko breadcrumb mixture.
- Place the coated chicken strips onto your cooking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and no longer pink inside.
Lettuce Wrap Filling:
- Place chicken strips into a large bowl and add chow mein noodles, green onions, cilantro, peanuts, and sweet chili sauce. Toss to coat.
- Transfer chicken mixture into serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Add lime wedges.
- In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, hot sauce, and lime juice together.
- Serve spicy mayo on the side or drizzle on top of chicken mixture.
To eat, scoop several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, drizzle extra spicy mayo on top, and wrap like a taco.
This dish is best served right away. This way the noodles will stay crunchy. After an hour or so, the noodles will start to go soft.
How to make fried wontons: Slice 1 cup wonton wrappers (about 10 wrappers) into thin strips (3 inches by ½ inch). Heat 1 inch of oil in a pot until hot, about 3-4 minutes. Fry wonton strips in batches, spreading them apart so that they don’t stick together, about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon once they turn golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Asian
Keywords: szechuan chicken lettuce wraps with spicy mayo, cactus club lettuce wraps, how to make chicken lettuce wraps
Incredible. I bought fried crispy onions and it made it that much better!
this was sooo good!! i made a few changes to substitute for things i didn’t have. i left out the cilantro (don’t like it), used rice vinegar instead of black, added a bit more sweet chili sauce when mixing with the chicken (to my liking) and instead of the 1 egg to go with the mayo i used heavy cream in place of the egg. it turned out so good, my boyfriend and i ate it last night and had none leftover!
The chicken itself was very tasty.
I had to double the egg/mayonnaise mixture, as I ran out of the first batch at about 1 chicken breast worth of slices. The procedure to coat with flour, dip in egg mix, and then coat with crumbs was very time consuming. Is there a faster way? Although the dish was yummy, the effort involved to do the coating was way to high, therefore I probably won't make this again.
I made this for me and my husband and wowwww so amazing! My husband gave the recipe and me lots of praise. Thank you!!
One of the most delicious recipes I’ve made in ages! My family loved them, I left out the peanuts because we aren’t huge fans but followed the rest of the recipe to a t and came out so yummy! Thank you.
Rob Feeney says
It’s okay but omits cilantro and peanuts.