Sunday, February 12, 2012

Just-Like-PF-Chang's Lettuce Wraps. With Cabbage.

Due to a special request for cabbage at a recent grocery trip, I had a sudden bounty of tried-and-now-unwanted cabbage that needed to be used up! I immediately thought of PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps (only I thought they used cabbage.) So I found a copycat recipe online from Stephanie Stiavetti at The Culinary Life!

Prep time: 35 minutes, Cook time: 25 minutes

Part 1a: Dipping/Pouring Sauce:
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup hot water
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar (my bottle just said rice vinegar)
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp dark sesame oil

In large bowl (I used a measuring cup,) dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup hot water. Blend in soy sauce, rice vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice, and dark sesame oil.  Mix well and set aside in fridge until the rest of the dish is ready. (I used a whisk to blend in the ketchup. It was just floating around all clumpy when I tried mixing with a spoon.)
Part 1b: 
1 tsp hot water
1 tbsp fancy dijon mustard (supposedly using the "good stuff" makes a difference)
2 cloves or 2 tsp garlic, minced

In small bowl, combine hot water, mustard and garlic. Set aside.
After chicken mixture is all done, add mustard mixture to previously refrigerated dipping sauce, 1/2-teaspoon at a time, to taste.

Part 2: Stir-Fry Sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar and rice vinegar. Mix well and set aside.

Part 3: Stir Fry Chicken:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into half-inch cubes or small chunks
1 tbsp olive oil (added later than 2 tbsp above)
Stir-Fry Sauce (see Part 2 above)
8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained and minced
1/2 cup mushrooms, minced to same size as water chestnuts
1/2 yellow onion, minced
3 cloves or 3 tsp minced garlic
6 or more large leaves iceburg lettuce (or cabbage)

Step 1: Over High heat, combine olive and sesame oils in a large frying pan or wok. Heat about 1 minute, until oil shimmers.
Step 2: Add chicken chunks and stir fry until cooked through (roughly 5 minutes.)
Step 3: Remove chicken from pan and allow to cool. Reserve the oil in the pan, keeping it hot on Low heat.
Step 4: After chicken is cooled, turn pan up to Medium-High heat and add another tbsp olive oil. Allow to heat roughly 1 minute.
Step 5: Add garlic, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, cooked chicken and stir-fry sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, until mushrooms are tender (roughly 4 minutes.)
Step 6: Remove from pan and place on serving dish. Wrap the stir-fry in lettuce leaves and add pouring/dipping sauce, as desired.

First off, I didn't bother making the mustard part of the sauce, as I don't care for mustard, and I figured Hubby could whip it together and add it in if he so desired. I was all kinds of done at that point. I also made stuff out of order. I got all the various ingredients out, but cooked the chicken first. Then, while it cooled, I mixed the sauces. I also never bothered to refrigerate the dipping sauce. I just left it out.
On a side note, this recipe made waaaaaaaay more dipping/pouring sauce than needed. So unless you love your food swimming and dripping, or want to try dipping fragile bundles of easily-falls-apart foodicles, you could easily halve or even quarter the recipe.

Warning: The moisture on the chicken caused the High-heat oil to sizzle and pop and shoot out little fiery balls of death specklets of hot oil and water, and the little bits of whatever left in the pan after removing the chicken did the same thing until the oil cooled down more. I ended up taking the pan off the burner until the burner had idled down some. Then had the same issue while the oil was heating back up to Medium. Not a fun time while wearing a baby shield. Although while I got lots of little burnies, she never once woke up or cried out, so I must have done a decent job protecting her. Made an oily mess all around the stove though. But that's what husbands are for, right?

The Verdict:
ZOMG. SO GOOD! I can't verify if it's exactly like PF Chang's, but it was a-freakin'-mazing. I think my husband said it was as good as theirs. But I was too burnt out to make a comparison, after juggling all these bowls. And I had to clamber onto chairs to reach the sugar. And hack out a rough approximation of waaay more than 2 tbsp of brown sugar from a solid chunk. While also making Lemon-Garlic Rainbow Chard. With a baby, who refused to stop crying unless I was holding or wearing her, strapped to my chest for several hours. While oil popped and spat and flew at us. And my husband came home an hour late.

I definitely prefer the moisture and crunch of iceburg lettuce, versus the rubbery-ness of the cabbage, but taste-wise it was still awesomeness. I preferred my cabbage torn into smaller leaves, with a small spoonful of chicken mixture and dribble of sauce on top, versus a big drippy wrap. Little chicken-cabbage bites.

Oh, and as leftovers? *swoon* Tasted okay cold, but still delici-scrumptious re-heated for 30-seconds, forked into my gob without any lettuce or cabbage. Omnomnom.
Leftovers in lower right compartment!
EasyLunchboxes are microwave safe!
Overall rating: A++ Would make again. With a responsible adult present to help me reach stuff, juggle babies, avoid oil explosions, etc. But mostly someone else to protect me from the childrens. Totally worth going through the 'plate spinning' routine though. (Like a plate spinner at the circus - you have a lot of things going on at once and are trying hard not to "drop" anything.)

    1 comment:

    1. These really sounds amazing! They look delicious!


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