The lettuce wraps served as an appetizer at the P.F. Chang’s chain of Asian restaurants satisfy both taste buds and many diet requirements. Because they are low in carbohydrates, fat and calories, they work well as a light lunch or dinner entree as well as an appetizer. Making these lettuce wraps at home allows you to enjoy them in your own dining room and adapt them to your own tastes and dietary needs.
P.F. Chang’s uses iceberg lettuce for their lettuce wraps, but any lettuce with a flexible and large leaf will work. Try mixing it up by using Bibb lettuce or even cabbage leaves instead of iceberg. Peel off any outer wilted leaves from the head of lettuce and discard them. Carefully peel away the outer leaves from the head of lettuce one at a time, keeping them as intact as possible. Wash each leaf in cold water and towel or air dry. Stack the leaves and keep them in reserve for the finished dish. Save the lettuce leaves toward the inside of the lettuce head for salads or vegetable stock, because they are too small and too bitter for lettuce wraps.
Prepare the Chicken
Although P.F. Chang’s lettuce wraps contain chicken, use any protein you like when making them at home, including minced beef or tofu. Buy ground chicken from the butcher or grind your own using a mix of white and dark meat at home. Sauté the ground chicken in sesame oil with garlic, ginger and minced onion. Add Sriracha sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and crushed red pepper to taste. Before serving, mix in diced water chestnuts for extra crunch.
Add a Little Garnish
Pair the chicken with garnishes of your choosing, or leave the items on the side. Possible garnishes include chopped green onions and peanuts. Small dishes containing soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and fried mung bean noodles complete the lettuce wraps. Add spicy mustard or Sriracha sauce for bolder tastes. Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce as both a garnish and in the recipe to make the dish gluten free.
Tips and Tricks
Lettuce leaves start to dry out, brown and wilt immediately after separating them from the head. For this reason, prepare the lettuce immediately before serving. You can prepare the chicken mixture in advance, however. You can keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of days and then heat it up right before serving. Soy sauce acts like salt in the recipe. Use more if the chicken tastes bland and add a bit more rice vinegar to counteract it if the mixture tastes too salty. Use crushed red pepper flakes and Sriracha sauce to add spice to the mixture as you would ground pepper.
References and ResourcesThe America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook; Jack Bishop
The Everything Restaurant Recipes Cookbook; Becky Bopp
ResourcesP.F. Chang's Restaurant Dining & Take Out
NPR.org The Splendid Table: Almond Chutney Chicken in Lettuce Roll-Ups