Happy Tuesday everyone! I am so tired of cooking. Thanks to the COVID pandemic I am cooking more than I have ever cooked. It’s better for our health and I’ve lost weight because of it but I am running out of ideas. In desperation, I started flipping through some of my paper recipes and came across something that I enjoyed making and eating in the past. It is a copycat recipe of PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Once I obtain permission from the “original” owner of the recipe I’ll provide a link. But for now, here is my rendition. It is simple, filling, tasty, low in carbs and high in protein. This recipe makes 4 normal servings or 3 hefty ones. The calories per serving is around 300 calories with only 20 grams or so of carbs. You get 22 grams of protein so this is a really filling meal believe it or not.
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 lb ground chicken – I do not like the texture of ground chicken so I hand chop mine. You can use breast or thighs but I use thighs because it is more flavorful. You can actually use any game fowl for this recipe.
- 2 gloves garlic, minced – I use A LOT MORE GARLIC THAN THIS
- 1 TBS freshly grated ginger – I make ahead garlic and ginger with sea salt in a food processor and store it in the freezer because I use those two ingredients in so many of my recipes. So for me it is super simple just to grab that anytime I need anything. I will include the “recipe” for that at the end.
- 1 onion – diced (I use vidalia)
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce – don’t skip this. If you MUST substitute you can use garlic teriyaki, Korean fermented bean paste or miso and mustard. Hoisin is available in most grocery stores though, so try to get that if you can for the best flavor.
- 2 TBS soy sauce
- 1 TBS rice wine vinegar
- 1 TBS Sriracha – optional (I prefer to use Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp which is good on EVERYTHING truly) (link will support our site!)
- 1 (8 ounce can) diced water chestnuts
- 2 green onions/scallions thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I usually leave these out and never miss them)
- 1 head butter lettuce (I have eaten this with every lettuce imaginable and even perilla leaves but the butter lettuce is the BEST for this recipe)
- OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup or more diced fresh mushrooms (PF CHANG’S adds mushroom to their recipe but most of my brood does not care for it so I always leave it out.)
A little prep:
- If you have not already chopped your chicken, so so nice. I like to sharpen my butcher knife or my chopper and just hack away at the meat. It is so satisfying. I do not care if the pieces are different sizes as it makes the bites more interesting.
- Put the chicken, garlic/ginger, onion, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, chili crisp in a lidded glass bowl and “massage” the meat together with your hands until well blended.
- Press the mixture flat, put a tight lid on it and marinate for at least an hour. You can do it overnight if you want to but it is not necessary.
Now we are ready to cook. It only takes 15 minutes so make sure your lettuce is already washed and separated and the table is set!
4. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Dump your chicken mixture into the pan and stir it around for 3-5 minutes. Add your mushrooms if you plan to use them.
5. Stir in water chestnuts and green onions until tender. It should only take a minute or so.
6. I like to give each person their own bowl of filler so there is no fighting. Everyone just spoons the mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, wrap and pop it into your mouth. Mmmm so good. The mixture may be juicy and if you don’t want something that wet, just drain before serving or use a slotted spoon as you build your lettuce wrap.
That is it. It could not be simpler. You don’t need rice, noodles or side dishes as this recipe has everything you need. Yes, this can be an appetizer but I think it is filling enough to make it as the meal. I just realized I can’t find photos of my dish. LOL Here is what it looks like at PF Chang’s:
Here is my “recipe” for the frozen garlic/ginger paste that is a time saver. Go to an Asian market and buy some pre peeled garlic cloves if you are lazy like me. If not, prepare several heads of Korean garlic (It is an asiatic hardneck variety with brown to purple striped clove skins – they are the best). Grab a big hunk of fresh ginger and scrape off the skin. Cut the ginger into round disks. Throw the garlic and ginger into a food processor and add several spoons of sea salt (depending on the amount of ginger and garlic used). Put the paste in a container that can be kept in the freezer. It will not get impossibly hard as the salt will keep it from freezing entirely. Even if it does freeze hard, just take a spoon and scrape it and you will be able to get what you need for your recipes. If you want to be clever, you can put the mixture into silicone molds or an ice cube tray if you want individual pieces but I don’t have time for that. This mixture can be kept in the freezer indefinitely and you will find yourself reaching for it for stir fries, Asian soups, bul go gi and so much more. Enjoy!