Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Asian Lettuce Wraps

I love PF Changs. Love it. We don't go often, but when we do, it never disappoints. The food is so flavorful. Nothing is bland.

Part of the reason we don't go very often is that we have to order lettuce wraps as an appetizer. We have to. And then, it's just a lot of food after everything is said and done. Sure, you can always take what's left home, but it's never as good. Plus, if you are going somewhere after, you really can't. I always overindulge at PF Changs because it's just that good. And then I feel gross. Overeating is not a good thing.

So, I have seen lots of PF Changs imitation lettuce wraps recipes floating around the internet and I have never tried them. First, because I doubt that I could recreate the goodness at home, and second because the ingredient lists are always super long. No thanks.

Then, I found this recipe over at My Kitchen Cafe and it DIDN'T promise to be anything like PF Changs, which I thought was refreshing. It had a short ingredient list, and I had to try it.

(I secretly hoped it would be like PF Changs, but knew it wouldn't...)

My only complaint was my choice of meat. The recipe specified ground chicken OR ground turkey. Ground turkey is usually more readily available and *cough* cheaper, so that's what I used. The turkey flavor was almost distracting.

They were delicious! And not like PF Changs, but it didn't matter. They were good.

Next time, I will use ground chicken, definitely.

Asian Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from My Kitchen Cafe
Printable Recipe

2 teaspoons canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 pound ground chicken (or turkey, if you choose...the turkey flavor WILL be present)
1 cup minced mushrooms (any variety, but use fresh)
pinch of salt
1 can water chestnuts, minced
1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon hot sauce
a small handful of cilantro, chopped
1 head of iceberg lettuce

Lettuce Wrap dipping sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for about 30 seconds, until it's fragrant. Add the meat, mushrooms, and salt and cook until meat is cooked through. Meanwhile, combine the dipping sauce ingredients and set aside. Add the water chestnuts and green onions and cook for a few minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon zest and juice, and hot sauce. Stir in the sauce mixture and cook for another minute or so, until everything is cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.

To serve, separate leaves of lettuce from the head carefully. Wash the leaves and pat dry, then chill in the refrigerator so they are cool when you eat. Spoon a few spoonfuls of chicken into the leaf and drizzle a little dipping sauce on top. Roll the lettuce leaf up and enjoy--carefully. They're a mess, but so worth it!


  1. Hi,

    This looks great. I make something a it similar called San Choi Bow. There's a recipe and a video at my blog. I think my name will be a link, maybe, I think.

  2. The TRICK to making it taste like PF is to pulse the raw (I know) chicken breast in the FP until it's the size of large peas.
    Here is a recipe that is very much like PF Changs.

    Chicken Lettuce Wraps
    10 fresh mushrooms pulsed in processor until finely chopped
    1 tsp cornstarch
    2 tsp dry sherry
    2 tsp water
    salt and pepper
    1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (pulse raw in processor until the size of peas) must do
    5 tbsp oil
    1 tsp fresh minced ginger
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 green onions, minced
    2 small dried chilies, (optional)
    1 (8 oz) can bamboo shoots, minced (optional)
    1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, minced
    1 package cellophane Chinese rice noodles, prepared according to package
    Cooking Sauce:
    1 tbsp hoisin sauce
    1 tbsp soy sauce
    1 tbsp dry sherry
    2 tbsp oyster sauce
    2 tbsp water
    1 tsp. sesame oil
    1 tsp. sugar
    2 tsp. cornstarch
    I use Romaine lettuce "cups" leaves
    Cover mushrooms with boiling water, let stand 30 minutes then drain. Cut and discard woody stems. Minces mushrooms. Set aside.
    Mix all ingredients for cooking sauce in bowl, and set aside.
    In medium bowl, combine cornstarch, sherry water, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and chicken. Stir to coat chicken thoroughly. Stir in 1 tsp. oil and let sit 15 minutes to marinate.
    Heat wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add 3 TBSP oil, then add chicken and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
    Add 2 TBSP oil to pan. Add ginger, garlic, chilies(if desired), and onion; stir fry about a minute or so.
    Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts; stir fry an additional 2 minutes.
    Return chicken to pan. Add mixed cooking sauce to pan. Cook until thickened and hot. Break cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces, and cover bottom of serving dish with them. Then pour chicken mixture on top of noodles. Spoon into lettuce leaf and roll.

  3. Pietra, Thanks for the recipe! The long list of ingredients is precisely why I have not attempted PF Changs imitations before...too many ingredients I don't already have make it really expensive the first go around. Thanks for the tip on the chicken; I'll have to try it!