Clever Kitchen: Better-Than-P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wraps

by Alecia on May 7, 2012

I’m sure that, just like us, you have a few recipes and meals that stand out in your mind as being a few steps above the rest.  For my family, this Copycat P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wraps Recipe is one of those!!! I dare say that they are even BETTER than P.F. Chang’s *gasp* … it is true, though!!  Do not allow the ingredient list or steps required deter you from making this recipe – it is actually deceptively easy and fast!!! You can prepare the sauces in advance & cook the filling in about 10 minutes!  After you make it once, you’ll be hooked!  It is now a really quick weeknight meal for us that gets the whole family excited!!

The recipe below is adapted from one I found in Todd Wilbur’s Super Duper Totally Authorized Top Secret Recipes book.  Use the recipe as follows as an appetizer for 4, or double the recipe to make enough for a meal (which is what we usually do)!

Table Sauce -

    • 1/2 c. warm Water
    • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp granulated Sugar
    • 3 tbsp Soy Sauce
    • 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
    • 1 tbsp chopped Green Onions (optional)
    • 1/2 – 1 tsp Chinese Hot Mustard Paste (optional)
    • 1 – 3 tsp Chili Garlic Sauce (optional)

Dissolve the sugar in the water.  Add soy sauce and rice vinegar.  If using, add chopped onions (we usually omit them b/c if you save the sauce to use for leftovers, the onions make it slimy and gross – it really doesn’t add much flavor either).  Cool before using.  You’ll use this sauce as a dipping sauce (or additive) to your lettuce wraps.  If desired, you can add the chinese hot mustard paste and chili garlic sauce to include the heat and depth of flavor, but we love it without them.

Lettuce Wrap Sauce -

    • 1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp Black Mushroom Soy Sauce (I was able to find this at Wegmans in the Asian Specialty Aisle)
    • 2 tbsp + 3 tbsp Water
    • 5 tsp granulated Sugar
    • 1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
    • 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
    • 1 tbsp Rice Cooking Wine or Sake
    • 1 tsp Cornstarch

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine black mushroom soy sauce, 2 tbsp water, sugar, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, and cooking wine/sake.  Microwave for 30 seconds, remove, and stir until sugar is dissolved.  In a separate bowl, whisk the cornstarch and remaining 3 tbsp of water until there are no clumps.  Add this “slurry” to the other prepared sauce bowl and stir until well combined.  Set aside to use later.

Fried Rice Sticks -

    • 1 – 1 1/2 c. Maifun Rice Sticks (also sometimes called Rice Noodles)
    • Canola or Vegetable Oil for Frying

If you have a deep fryer, just break the rice sticks apart and toss them in for 1-2 minutes until they puff up, but do not turn brown.  If you would prefer, you can use a heavy-bottomed, deep pan on the stove.  Add roughly 2 inches of oil to your pan and heat your oil to 350 degrees precisely.  Break up and drop in your rice sticks, which should puff up immediately (if they don’t, heat your oil longer – I usually test my oil with a few sticks before tossing them all in).  Turn them to puff the other side and remove to a paper towel.  Depending on the size of your deep fryer or pan, you may need to break your rice sticks into several batches.  Do not overfill your pan or they won’t cook properly.  Set your fried rice sticks aside in a separate bowl.

Lettuce Wrap Filling -

    • 8 Shitake Mushrooms, finely chopped (roughly 1/2 c.) – I use fresh b/c they’re easy to find & end up being cheaper than buying dried ones.  If you can’t find fresh, you can use dried ones and rehydrate them before chopping.
    • 1 c. ground white meat Chicken
    • 2 tbsp Canola or Vegetable Oil
    • 1/4 tsp Salt
    • 1/8 tsp White Pepper
    • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Garlic, minced
    • 1 c. canned Water Chestnuts, finely chopped
    • 1/4 c. Scallions, chopped

Add oil to a large skillet with sides or a wok over medium-high heat.  When your oil begins to smoke slightly, add ground chicken and stir to brown.  Sprinkle your chicken with salt & white pepper as it cooks.  Reduce heat slightly, if needed, to keep your chicken from burning.  When your chicken is thoroughly browned, add garlic and let cook for 30 seconds.  Add mushrooms and water chestnuts; cook for another minute.  Slowly pour in your Lettuce Wrap Sauce (recipe above) and stir to coat your chicken mixture.  Cook to reduce the sauce for a few more minutes.  It should be thick, but still creamy.  Top with scallions and remove mixture from heat.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving

Assembly -

  • 1 head Iceberg Lettuce, end removed, cut in half, and “cups” of lettuce removed

To assemble your lettuce wraps, add a helping of fried rice noodles to a lettuce cup, top with lettuce wrap filling, and drizzle with table sauce.  Fold edges over and enjoy!!!

Warning: You will need napkins and most likely make a lot of “Mmmm”ing sounds while eating.  This is normal :)

Like this recipe?!  Hit the printer icon below the post to print it or share your love by using one of the Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest tabs below!  Of course, you can find plenty more yummy recipes from my Clever Kitchen, too!

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