Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lettuce Wraps

(Better than PF Chang's)

My sister-in-law told us about these wraps.  They sounded so good we went to the store that day and bought the stuff to make them.  Luckily she showed us what to do.  I was a little intimidated by the ingredients and the process but watching her helped ease my fears.  This recipe takes a lot of time so round up a helper.   Don't let this stop you from making these amazingly yummy wraps.  After making them about 3 times I had it figured out (or I just wasn't afraid any longer).  Now I can make them faster and by myself.  I still love it when my husband helps.  He usually starts the sauce and I start the filling.  Once he's done then he takes over the filling while I get the lettuce leaves ready and cook Rice A Roni to go with it.

 In this picture I forgot the ketchup, so not every ingredient is shown.  The first time I made these I thought there was some strange things in it.  You buy 7 of the ingredients in the oriental section of the grocery store.  
Start by boiling your chicken in water.  Once that is going I start the frying of the Maifun rice sticks. 

These have to be the coolest things ever, they are like magic.  You buy Maifun rice sticks not Saifun.  There are several ways to cook them, but we fry them.  Heat oil in a large, shallow pan.   These rice sticks are super hard right out of the package.  They are all bunched together and you have to pull them apart.  I just do a small amount like in the picture below.  They make a mess when you pull them apart.  I usually have little pieces all over the counter. Put a paper towel on a plate to get ready for the fried rice sticks

 The oil has to be hot when you put them in.  They should puff up instantly when you drop them in the oil.  If they don't your oil isn't hot enough.  With metal tongs I flip them to fry on the other side. This is important because these noodles are break your teeth hard before they are fried.  When you fry them they turn into puffy, light, crispy noodles.  You'll have a big pile.  These change again when you add them later in the recipe.  Stay tuned for more noodle magic.

 Next start the sauce.  Doesn't that look like steamy goodness!  Dissolve  the sugar and water in a pan, add soy sauce, ketchup, sesame oil, rice vinegar, & lemon juice.  In a little bowl combine Garlic Red Chili Paste & Chinese Hot Mustard to desired hotness.  HOT - 2 Tbsp. of each, MEDIUM - 1 Tbsp. of each, MILD - 2 tsp. of each.  We make the medium because it's not to spicy for our children.  Add the chili paste and mustard to the rest of the sauce.  Boil for one minute stirring constantly.  This is to be drizzled over the lettuce wraps.

To make the filling, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, and brown sugar in a big pan. Next add the chicken that has been cut into dime size pieces.   Now add the green onions, chestnuts, mushrooms, and minced garlic. To save time chopping I use the trusty pampered chef chopper.  The picture shows the green onions about to be chopped.  It is great for the bottoms but I usually chop the tops by hand.  I mince the chestnuts and mushrooms with the chopper till they are the size of peas.

 Now for noodle magic.  I just put the pile of maifun on top of the filling. 
I take a spatuala and begin breaking it up. 

 This is what it looks like after you begin breaking it down.  Next stir it in.

 When the rice sticks get wet they change. Don't worry as you stir them in they become wet wiggly noodles. This is what should happen.

To get the lettuce ready I wash the heads, let them dry, then I slowly pull the leaves off the head.  The first leaves are to big like the one pictured above so I cut right down the center starting at the white part.  This way no one has to have an all white lettuce leave.  To eat spoon the filing inside a leaf then drizzle some sauce on the filing, roll together and enjoy.  You may want to have napkins handy.

 We like to eat these with rice and a jello salad.  I make Rice A Roni because it's fast.  Fast is good after working so hard.  I didn't make a jello salad this time.  We had friends over and they brought the yummy jello salad.  I'll have to post a  jello recipe we love and that is fast on another day.

Lettuce Wraps * like PF Changs
by: Home Run Recipes

Special Sauce
1/2 cup Sugar
4 Tbsp Soy Sauce
4 Tbsp Ketchup
1/4 tsp sesame Oil
1 cup Water
4 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1-2 Tbsp Garlic Red Chili Paste
1-2 Tbsp Chinese Hot Mustard

Special Sauce - Dissolve sugar in water; add soy sauce, ketchup, sesame oil, rice vinegar, & lemon juice.  In a separate bowl combine Garlic Red Chili Paste & Chinese Hot mustard to desired hotness: Hot - 2 Tbsp Both Medium - 1 Tbsp both, Mild - 2 tsp both.    Boil for one minute stirring constantly.  This is to be drizzled over the filing in the lettuce wrap.

Stir Fry Filling
3/4 cup Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
3/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar (I do use light sometimes and still taste yummy)
2 lbs cooked Chicken Breast (cut into dime sized pieces)
6 Tbsp Chopped Green onions
2 Cup Water Chestnuts (minced)  3 cans
1 1/3 cup mushrooms (minced) 2 cans
1 Tbsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 Cups Maifun Rice Sticks or noodles (fried)

(you may not need 2 it depends on how much filling people put inside their lettuce and how big your heads of lettuce are.  We do 2 to make sure we have plenty. Make a salad the next day with the left overs. Or we have put the rice a roni in the lettuce with the sauce drizzled on it the next day and it was pretty amazing.)

Filling - Fry the maifun until fully cooked.  Combine Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, and brown sugar in a large pan.  Then add chicken..  You want to chop the mushrooms and water chestnuts the size of peas. Add to chicken.  Combine the remaining ingredients.  We break up the maifun right in the pan with a spatuala.  they go from crispy to wiggly noodles.  You can serve right away or refrigerate for 2 hours to enhance the flavor.  Just remember to heat before serving.

Serve Lettuce on a platter; stir fry and sauce in separate bowls.  Let everyone make their own wrap.  ENJOY!

yield - one recipe of filling will feed 8 adults.  We usually pig out on these. 

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