Klunker's lettuce wraps
This last week, I was asked to make lettuce wraps just like PF Chang's®. That brought a flood of delicious memories to my head. PF Chang's is my favorite Chinese restaurant. I love all the food there. I miss a lot of the food that I no longer eat too. One of the recipes I just let go was the delightful, delicious, so damn good lettuce wraps.
I had let the thought of eating those ever again go. I mean, they had oil, they had meat, and both of those are off my menu. But then the request came in, and I said yes before thinking about it. Could I really make these good enough to mirror the great PF? I had to try! I had to give it my all, and I will admit now, it was not for anyone else but me!!! I was doing this for my own selfish reasons.
So I did! I made these beautiful wraps and I loved them. I almost ate the whole recipe. I was full after just two, but I was willing to burst just to have a few more bites. I was alone, but I am pretty sure I had a tear in my eye from joy.
This recipe goes quickly once the tofu is done. The tofu is the longest part of this whole preparation, but it is worth the effort.
1 16 oz. container of extra firm tofu in water. Drained and rinsed off
3 tablespoons no chicken, chicken broth (you can buy or make)
3c mushrooms (cremini if you can find) cleaned and thick sliced (1/3 inch)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 can water chestnuts (drained and chopped to pea size pieces)
1 head butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce
For the sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (or whatever you use in it's place)
1/4c hoisin sauce (look for brand with no oil)
1 tsp. ground fresh ginger
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1-2 heaping tablespoons sambal oelek chili sauce
Mix together and set aside
As I said in the beginning, the tofu will take about an hour from start to finish, so lets start with that.
After draining and rinsing the tofu, cut into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes. Place a medium sauce pan on the stove over medium high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, add the chickenless powder (or you can just use a good veggie or mushroom stock too) Mix well, then carefully add the tofu.
Cover and bring back to a boil. Do not stir, the tofu gets fragile. When it comes back to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Do not stir or bother it. While it is doing it's thing, you can chop your mushrooms and water chestnuts and make your sauce.
Preheat oven to 350*.
When 30 minutes is up, drain carefully into a colander. Let drain well. Line a baking sheet with a silicone pad or parchment paper. Place the pieces carefully on the baking sheet. (I had to use a fork because it was a bit hot)
Bake in the 350* oven for 30 minutes. No need to turn, but if you are using parchment, check and make sure they are not burning on the bottom.
So you have an hour total to prep the rest of your stuff. Did you mix your sauce? Did you cut everything? Good, lets move on.
While the tofu is in the oven, lets saute the mushrooms, garlic and water chestnuts. (a note here, if you don't have water chestnuts, you can use celery)
Saute in a large pan, over medium heat, until the mushrooms are soft, and they are not giving off any more water.
When the tofu is done in the oven, remove and put the pieces on a cutting board. Chop them up now into odd pieces. You want the pieces to be small.
Add the tofu to the mushroom mix. Saute another 10 minutes, mixing and turning often. You are just drying the tofu out a little more here.
Add the sauce all at once. Stir well for 1-2 minutes, until everything is hot.
Serve in lettuce leaves that have been carefully removed from the head of lettuce. Garnish if you want with cilantro or green onions.
If you want extra sauce, make a double batch.
I hope you give this recipe a try and fall in love with it as I did. Next time I am making a double batch so I can have leftovers for work.