Do you ever have those days where you just crave restaurant food? Not because you want to sit down and have someone else cook for you but you are just craving a dish that you love and it’s consistently good? Yup, I’m having one of those days and today i’m craving lettuce wraps from PF Changs.
Houston...we got a bit of problem here because 1) PF Chang’s doesn’t have a restaurant in Canada and 2) I have a crazy assed toddler who won’t sit still in a restaurant and if I take him, he will force other diners in to giving me the stink eye of all stink eye’s and I just ain’t in the mood to ward off the crazy’s who think they know everything there is to know about parenting because they used to own a tamagotchi in the 90’s.
For my canuck friends who have never been to a PF Changs, it’s pretty good. It’s a chain that does a variety of asian dishes and a lot of it is family style so the idea is to order a bunch of different things and share with your friends and/or family. Now I want to be honest, living in Vancouver I get spoiled with a lot of delicious asian food and I don’t really like to do ‘chain’ food all that much but the lettuce wraps at PF Changs are something that I would always order cuz they are delicious, simple and always reliable. Lettuce wraps in general are fricken awesome and whenever I see them on a menu, there is a 98% chance that I will order them. Seriously, hubs and I always make variations of lettuce wraps; some veggie, some with meat, some with shrimp, some with both…the possibilities are endless. The only problem is that because you aren’t filling up on crazy carbs…ya tend to go boss hog on those bad boys so look out. What looks like a big bowl of lettuce wrap filling will soon disintegrate in to nothing and then you will get slapped across the face with reality that it’s no longer there because your fat ass ate it all!! Prepare yourself for this emotion. Don’t worry, it will soon morph in to your inner monologue telling you ‘it’s all good tubby, don’t worry…it’s friggen lettuce, chill out’ to which you will chuckle to yourself and say…’you’re right, we are all good here’.
So what’s a girl to do when she’s craving a restaurant dish and doesn’t want to drive across the border with her zombie 3 year old?? Cook a version that is pretty similar and satisfy the heck outta that craving. A while back I found a really great copy cat recipe on damndelicious.net (go to her website, she has some flippin’ awesome recipes that are easy and delicious, plus she does a few recipes for restaurant copy cat food). Since I first made that version, I have modified it a bit and added a few more veggies…cuz why the heck not right? You all know how I love me moody little veggies!! Argh! (not sure why I went pirate there but whatever)
So here we go!! First heat EVOO in deep dish sauce pan over medium high. Add your ground chicken and cook until it is completely cooked, should take about 5 minutes. Make sure you keep breaking it up so it cooks in to nice little crumbly pieces. In this dish, everything needs to be super small and minced.
Once your chicken is cooked, stir in your garlic, onions, carrots, celery and mushroom. Cook for about a minute or two or until your onions become translucent.
Next add your hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Siracha and mix completely.
Add your chopped water chesnuts and green onion and cook for another 2 minutes. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. *Sometimes I like to add a bit of chopped thai basil to this because it adds such awesome flavour but you all know how insane hubs is about having herbs in his food. It still baffles me and I think he’s a complete nut bar. Fingers crossed he warms up to the herbs one day!!
And here is what it looks like! I used red leaf lettuce as my lettuce cups cuz that is what I had in my fridge. You could use any kind of lettuce really. Boston probably looks the prettiest but i’m not going for pretty…i’m going for ‘get in my belly NOW’.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Pound ground chicken
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 white onion, diced small
- 1 carrot diced small
- 1 celery stalk diced small
- 3 mushrooms, diced small
- 1/4-1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp of fresh grated ginger
- 1 Tsp of sriracha (more or less depending on taste)
- 1 8 oz can of water chesnuts drained and diced small
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 head of lettuce (leaf, butter or even romaine)
- Heat EVOO in a pan over medium high heat. Add your ground chicken and cook until browned and completely cooked (5 minutes). Drain the excess fat away.
- Stir in garlic, onion, carrots, celery, mushroom. Cook for about 2 minutes until the onion is translucent.
- Add your hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and sriracha and mix completely.
- Add your chopped water chesnuts and green onions and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper (optional)
- Serve on a few spoonfuls of the mixture in to the centre of the lettuce leaf and serve. *Or you can do what I do and place a big plate of washed clean lettuce cups on your table, along with a bowl of the delicious mixture and let people serve themselves.
Well there you have it. Restaurant style dish, in the comfort of my own home! The lion can get naked at the table, throw food at us, scream his version of the angry alphabet or break out in to John Denver…no one friggen cares and the best part…I don’t have to tip anyone for having to put up with us. RESULT!
Hope you fine people enjoy this moody lil dish!