Sunday, January 31, 2016

Chicken Lettuce Wraps-- PF Chang's Famous Recipe Hacked...

Chinese New Year lands on February 8th-- right around the corner, and my food mind this week is on Chinese!

If you've ever had the the famous appetizer chicken lettuce wrap from American-based restaurant chain PF Chang's China Bistro, you'll understand why there's so many copycat recipes out there. And it's all about the sauce you spoon over!! My first time trying it a few years ago with friends during a trip to Myrtle Beach, we were all doubled-over wowed! (✪㉨✪) Returning, I had to try and replicate the recipe-- getting a pretty good idea from recipes searched on-line, and testing and tasting myself, here is what I came up with-- and it has been impressing every time I've made it since :). Don't be deterred by all the sauce ingredients-- trust me each one lends its special characteristic to the ultra-tastiness spooned over fun and healthy lettuce chicken parcel-- it's the bomb! 

PF Chang Chicken Lettuce Wraps Hacked
Makes 6 servings

2 Tbsp. oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs, 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, if dried, hydrate in water to cover for two hours, drain and chop
1 cup water chestnuts, diced
1 green onion, chopped
iceberg lettuce, peeled into cups, and torn into hand-size pieces to make wrapping easy

Special Sauce:

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. hot Chinese mustard or Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. water
red chili garlic sauce to taste (sambal oelek)

Stir Fry Sauce:
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. rice wine vinegar

Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl. Add all the ingredients except the mustard and chili sauce. Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you're ready to serve (it just taste so-o good cool). Add your desired measurement of mustard and chili sauce when ready to use as a dipping sauce.

Mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl for the stir-fry sauce. Heat oil in wok/skillet over high heat. Sauté chicken for one minute, then add the garlic and mushrooms; cook for one minute more before adding the water chestnuts. Pour the stir fry sauce and sauté the mixture until cooked. Toss with green onions. Serve hot in a serving bowl along with lettuce "cups" and special sauce.

Chicken filling in a crisp lettuce wrap punctuated with tangy, sweet and savoury sauce with a kick of heat-- haven't met anyone old or young who's tried and didn't love it yet! :)

Serving the chicken mixture over the rice instead of encased in lettuce makes it easy for the young ones to eat. And the sauce-soaked rice is delicious too!

I introduced this recipe to my dear friend and fellow Ambassador Food Revolution Amman Mira Jarrar, and she's been teaching it to her Mira's Young Chefs cooking club in Jordan-- Everyone loves it! She's heard about the infamous wraps but have never tried them... this was a way to bring the deliciousness into her kitchen and into the bellies of her young chefs. 

Photo Credit: Mira Jarrar

On the same note, my friend and fellow Food Revolution Ambassador Muriel Strobos in Curacao celebrated Chinese New Year this week cooking with her kids in Muriel's Kitchen. They made the awesome chicken wraps along with spring rolls and my Marbled Tea Eggs. Thank you for reaching out and cooking up some of my recipes-- I felt I was there in spirit :). So happy to share and "cook" cross-borders with all the great ambassadors in our Food Revolution community-- the world just got that much smaller and tastier :)

Photo Credits: Muriel Strobos

Join me back this week with more delicious home-style Chinese Eats!

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