My friend Sara asked for a version of these, and I was happy to oblige - I love PF Changs' lettuce wraps, even if they are microwaved in a NASA-approved food-system bag.
I love microwaves, too.
Anyway, this version of lettuce wraps is quick and easy, and you can substitute meat, tofu, or extra mushrooms in the filling to suit your dietary needs and the contents of your refrigerator!
Here's what you need for the filling:
- 1 pint mushrooms
- 1 cup filling (tofu, ground meat, or another pint of mushrooms - your call!)
- 4 green onions
- 1 small can water chestnuts
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon minced or fresh ginger, or 1/4 teaspoon dried ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- Lettuce - bibb, butter, iceberg, anything with big sturdy leaves!
And, here's how I made the dipping sauce:
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Shriracha
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
If you don't have the ingredients already for the sauces, get them! These are very basic asian ingredients that can be used in SO many different recipes and are great to have!
Substitution: You can use all oyster or all hoisin sauce if you'd only prefer to buy one - don't worry. You can also use regular vinegar if you don't have any rice vinegar.
First, I make the dipping sauce:
To a bowl, add the soy sauce....
Then add the Sriracha, or any other kind of chili paste you have. Add as much as you'd like!
Then dump in the vinegar and sesame oil.
Yum. Now, whisk this all together with a fork or spoon or whisk or dog tail and taste it! I like to add a sprinkle of sugar sometimes, or THIS little gem: chili-flavored sesame oil!
Yep, this stuff is great. A few drops makes it SUPER spicy, so throw some in if you'd like!
Adjust the dipping sauce according to your tastes, adding more of whatever you'd like. Then, set it aside while you make the cooking sauce.
Just like before, dump all the ingredients into a bowl.
And ginger. Look! I have this fun minced stuff in a jar, but fresh is probably better, according to the Freshnes Nazis.
Now, we have sauce to dip with and sauce to cook with. Let's assemble our filling! I'm using mushrooms and tofu, but lots of different combinations of fillings would work great.
A note to tofu-haters: get over yourself. Tofu is a nearly tasteless vehicle for all sorts of flavors, and you would never have a clue that it was in here since you crumble it up so small. Try it if you never have!
I only used half of this package of tofu - but you could double the recipe for a larger group or to have more leftovers!
LOOK at that gorgeous lettuce - it's Bibb.
Now, heat a pan to medium-high heat with a drizzle of any oil you'd like to use. Then, grab the mushrooms.
Now, chop them up! The idea here is to imitate ground meat: Even if you're using meat for the filling, adding some mushrooms takes out some of the calorie count without taking away from the flavor of the meat.
So, chop and chop until the mushrooms are small, then add them to the hot pan.
Lovely. Let the mushrooms brown for 5-10 minutes until they are very dark, then dump in the tofu or meat, whichever you're using.
Nice. Crumble and crisp the tofu for a few minutes until it's all the same size as the mushroom bits.
While that's happening, drain and chop the water chestnuts.
Then slice the mushrooms - separate the whites and greens, we'll use both!
Once the tofu has broken up and heated through, add the water chestnuts, cooking sauce, and the white part of the onions to the pan.
Stir this all together and let it heat through, then taste it.
Bonus ingredient alert! I wanted a strong veggie taste in my filling, and I also wanted that "brown" taste that is so distinctive about Chinese food, so I added some black bean cooking paste. It's not necessary at all! If you want a stronger flavor to the filling once you add the sauce, add some more oyster sauce and vinegar, then taste again. Delicious!
Nice! Now, add the tops of the onions to the pan and stir everything together once more. Turn the heat down and let the sauce barely simmer for one more minute. Add some water if the pan gets too dry!
Delicious. At this point you're ready to eat! I like to arrange a little dish of dipping sauce and some lettuce leaves on each plate.
Then, I put the filling all in one dish and everyone can make wraps however they'd like.
Look at this great texture! To assemble, put a little filling on a piece of lettuce, then drizzle on some dipping sauce and extra Sriracha, if you'd like!
Then, gently roll the whole thing together...
And take a bite!
Please note the pitiful dog who doesn't get to eat lettuce wraps surveying the whole process.
I dripped dipping sauce halfway around the house with my attempt at wrapping, so I tore up a bunch of lettuce and made a salad!
I'm a mess, though. Don't be like me.
However you eat these, they are DELICIOUS, and so simple to make. Great for entertaining, weeknight dinner, and perfect as leftovers to take for lunch!