We don't even have P.F. Chang's up here in Canadia, but I am worldly enough to have been exposed to this little bit of US culture over the years; and the one thing people always seem to rave about is this restaurant chain's Lettuce Wraps. Intrigued, I looked up several copycat recipes and as usual, modified them to my own tastes. These have now become a weekly meal over here at Chez Kreeli. What I really love is that I can chop the veggies small enough that my kids don't even realize they are eating some of their most hated foods (like mushrooms). Hope you enjoy as much as we do.
BTW - I end up doubling this recipe for my family of four because it gets gobbled up so quickly and we like to have leftovers.
1 lb extra firm tofu, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and minced
1 rib of celery, minced
1/2 of a sweet red pepper, minced
1 tbsp dried red chilis (optional)
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
4 cups fresh bean sprouts OR 4 cups asian rice noodles, cooked
1 cup roasted and coarsley chopped unsalted cashews (optional)
1 tsp tapioca starch
2 tsp cooking sherry or mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
2 tsp water
salt and pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking sherry or mirin
2 tbsp miso paste
4 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 teaspoon sweetener
2 teaspoons tapioca starch
Lettuce of your choice to make lettuce "wraps" or "cups". Iceberg appears to be what's served in the restaurant but we prefer Romaine. Pull whole leaves off, wash well, and pat dry. Place between layers of paper towels and chill for several hours prior to serving.
Mix together the tofu marinade in a medium bowl, then add the minced tofu and set aside for at least 15 minutes.
Arrange the bean sprouts or cooked rice noodles on a large serving platter and set aside.
Mix together the cooking sauce ingredients and set aside.
When tofu is finished marinating, heat a generous amount of oil in a large skillet. Add the tofu (along with any leftover marinated and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the tofu begins to brown. Remove from skillet and set aside. Heat another generous amount of oil in the skillet and add the green onions, garlic and ginger. Saute, stirring the whole time, for two minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and cook for another three to four minutes. Return the tofu to the pan, top with the cooking sauce, and cook over high heat until the entire mixture is hot and thick. Pour over top of the bean sprouts or rice noodles and bring to the table piping hot. Sprinkle with the chopped cashews, if desired.
Give everyone their own spoon and as many lettuce leaves as they think they can eat and allow everyone to dig into the tofu mixture. There are different methods to eating lettuce wraps but my preferred way is to cup the lettuce leaf in my palm and add a nice mound of hot filling, then kind of scrunch the edges up over top like a pocket or wonton. My husband prefers to roll the filling up inside the leaf much like a burrito. The kids enjoy doing it in whatever fashion makes the greatest mess. You will find your own technique, which of course depends on the type of lettuce you're using.