Given my Chinese background, I can’t help but fall back into old habits from time to time, craving those really deep and earthy flavors I grew up in, and thankfully, Frankie has been a trooper in trying new flavors and dishes that perhaps he was never all too familiar with. One of the things I love to cook are Chicken Lettuce Wraps—Disclaimer: I’m aware this is more an Americanized culinary invention than anything else, but the flavors are inherently true. It’s well-meant me thinks—and funny enough, Frankie likes them so much that he’ll even request them! (Score one for me!) I’ll admit though, I know it’s mostly because he likes the cool little butter lettuce head that I get, you know, the kind that comes with the roots and a little bit of soil on the bottom, like it came straight from the garden? Yeah, that’s the kind he likes, but I do know he also likes how my lettuce wraps taste too!
Now, for me, I always liked getting the Chicken Lettuce Wraps from P.F. Chang’s with my mom, and have MANY memories of this, especially getting to make our own sauce to dribble on top (I’m a total sauce fanatic), but here’s the kicker, there are mushrooms in it. Sometimes I could get them without mushrooms, but more often than not, I couldn’t. So, I had to pick them out and that took way too much time and effort. There had to be a better way, and there was: make it myself. I started looking for recipes that would allow me to eat something I enjoy that wasn’t going to make me instantly sick, and I found a PF Chang’s Copy Cat recipe that has become a go-to for me ever since! And guess what, NO MUSHROOMS!! My tender tummy was thrilled, and I found it at a blog that I’ve used and mentioned here before! Fellow Corgi owner Damn Delicious! [Recall Post: Going to the Dogs]
And what’s even better? It’s healthy and way too easy to make!! (So easy that I actually forgot to take more photos while I was making it…whoops.) Twenty minutes TOPS, though depending on how fast you can whisk through the prep, it’s going to be more like thirty, but that’s not too bad is it? As I’ve already said, I’m ALL about the sauce, and as it stands in DD’s recipe, there’s just not enough for me. I love it when the sauce slips out of the ends of your lettuce roll and drips between your fingers. I’m not always about messy food, but I’ll make a special occasion for this dish! You’ll notice below I’ve added a fairly generous additional amount to the saucy side of this dish, but feel free to start where she did and go from there! It’s all about your own tastes, since no tongue or set of taste buds are the same as another. I also added carrots for crunch and slight sweetness, in addition to the sweet chili sauce/chili flakes for an extra kick! And the other great thing about lettuce wraps: serve it with whatever you’d like! I’ve used rice for a side, roasted veggies, or just on its own (it is healthy after all)! Simple, delicious, flavorful, and above all, INCREDIBLY approachable for someone maybe not so familiar or used to Asian flavors. Rest assured, your taste buds will thank you!
[PF Chang’s Copy Cat] Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from Damn Delicious recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled & grated
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- 2 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste
- 2 teaspoon sweet chili sauce
- OPTIONAL: 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, if you want to kick it up another notch
- 1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 head butter lettuce
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground chicken and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks; drain excess fat.
- Stir in garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and Sriracha until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chestnuts and green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add more of anything else to taste too! Make it flavorful to your liking!
- Spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, lightly roll, and eat!