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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Recipe of the Week: P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps

We had dinner with some great friends at PF Chang's this week and, although we didn't opt for this delicious appetizer, it did make me think about this hidden gem tucked away in my recipe box.

Lettuce wraps, especially these, make the perfect appetizer, lunch, or even dinner! Years ago I found this knock-off P.F. Changs Lettuce Wraps recipe on Robbie's Recipes. I gave it a go, even though there were a few ingredients that I had to omit because I either I didn't have them or didn't want to buy a whole bottle of something -- they still turned out great!

Feel free to play around with the mixture and sauce -- I left out the oyster sauce and dry sherry and I thought they still tasted fantastic! Tweak it to fit your tastes and your pantry.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps (like PF Changs)

Prep. Time:0:45 min.
Serves: 4-6


8 dried shiitake mushrooms
boiling water - as needed
1 Tbls. Hoisin sauce
1 Tbls. soy sauce
1 Tbls. dry sherry
2 Tbls. oyster sauce
2 Tbls. water
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
3 tsp. cornstarch - divided
2 tsp. dry sherry
2 tsp. water
salt and pepper - to taste
1 1/2 lbs. boned, skinned chicken breasts - sliced
1/3 cup vegetable oil - divided
1 tsp. fresh minced ginger
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 green onions - minced
2 sm. dried chilies - optional
8 oz. can bamboo shoots - drained, minced
8 oz. can water chestnuts - drained, minced
1 head iceberg OR Bibb lettuce - leaves separated
1 package Chinese cellophane noodles - prepared as directed

-Prepare the sauce (see recipe below).
-Cover mushrooms with boiling water and let stand for 30 minutes; drain; trim off and discard woody stems, then mince mushroom; set aside.
-Combine Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, 1 Tbls. sherry, oyster sauce, 2 Tbls. water, sesame oil, sugar, and 2 tsp. cornstarch; set aside.
-In a medium bowl, combine remaining 1 tsp. cornstarch, 2 tsp. sherry, 2 tsp. water, salt, and pepper; lay chicken into mixture and spoon over to coat. Stir in 1 tsp. vegetable oil and let sit 15 minutes to marinate.
-Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat; stir-fry chicken in 3 Tbls. vegetable oil for 3 - 4 minutes; remove from wok/pan; chop chicken and set aside.
-Heat 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil in wok/pan; add ginger, garlic, onions, and chilies; stir-fry for 1 minute; add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts; stir-fry for 2 minutes.
-Return chicken to wok/pan; pour in reserved mixture; simmer until thickened and heated through.
-Spoon mixture into lettuce leaves and roll up like a burrito.
-Break cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces and spread evenly over a serving platter; arrange prepared wraps over noodles.
-Spoon sauce over wraps (see recipe below).

Sauce for Chicken Lettuce Wraps

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbls. soy sauce
2 Tbls. rice vinegar
2 Tbls. ketchup
1 Tbls. lemon juice
1 Tbls. Chinese hot mustard
1-3 tsp. garlic chili paste
1/8 tsp. sesame oil

-Dissolve the sugar in the water in a small bowl.
-Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
-Refrigerate until ready to serve the lettuce wraps.