Author Notes: Plum sauce was one of my first low-sodium cooking coups. The kind you buy in the store often has 140mg of sodium per tablespoon. But I thought, maybe, if I mixed plum jam with ginger and unseasoned rice vinegar, I could make a passable substitute. Somehow, it worked. And if you cannot find plum jam, you can use any dark berry jam in its place.
The whole meal is very simple to put together and the deep purple sauce against the orange carrot sticks and bright green lettuce cups is pleasing to the eye as well as to the palate. This is a great family-style dish that cooks up quickly and will wow your guests too. Leftovers are great cold the next day for lunch; just reheat the sauce. - Sodium Girl
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed in a garlic press
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (2 to 2 1/2-inch piece) peeled and diced fresh ginger
- 3 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 green onions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 pound ground chicken meat (I like using half thigh, half breast meat)
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Red chili pepper flakes
- 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and diced
- 2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated and washed
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, add three-quarters of the smashed garlic, 11⁄2 tablespoons of the ginger, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the jam, brown sugar, and rice vinegar. Whisk until smooth and then cook, covered, over very low heat for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking, reducing the liquid, for 10 minutes. Then cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to very low, to keep the sauce warm while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In a wok or large skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining ginger and garlic, and the white parts of the green onions. Cook, stirring, until the ginger takes on a golden brown hue, about 5 minutes. Then add the chicken and cook, using your spoon to break the meat apart, until it turns white, about 10 minutes. Add the mustard powder, white pepper, cloves, and chili flakes to taste and cook for 5 minutes. Add the water chestnuts, carrots, and the sliced green tops of the green onion, and stir a few times to combine. Remove from the heat and toss with a third of the sauce.
- Serve the chicken warm or cold, scooping it into the leaves of the butter lettuce and topping with extra dollops of the plum sauce. After that, it’s a wrap.
- Sodium count: Ground chicken: 67mg per 4 ounces; Water chestnuts: 5 to 25mg per serving depending on brand; Carrot: 42mg per medium carrot; Lettuce: 9mg per 4 ounces Reprinted with permission from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from Sodium Girl's Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook by Jessica Goldman Foung. Photographs by Matt Armendariz. Copyright 2013