Top Secret Restaurant Recipes Version of:
P. F. CHANG’S
CHICKEN IN SOOTHING
LETTUCE WRAPS (IMPROVED)
While working on the formula for P. F. Chang’s Vegetarian Lettuce
Wraps for this book (page 300), I discovered that there were
several ways I could improve the clone recipe for the Chicken
Wraps that I published in Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2. I’ve now
perfected the fl avor of the stir-fry with the addition of mirin (a
sweetened sake syrup) and oyster sauce, both of which you can
fi nd in your market where the Asian foods are stocked. The “specialsauce” that you spoon over your wraps has also been tweaked and perfected. And fi nally, after reducing the amount of chicken from two breasts fi llets to just one, I think this new and improved version of P.F. Chang’s most popular dish is the absolute best clone it can be.
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1⁄8 teaspoon chili oil
2 tablespoons chopped green
½ to 1 teaspoon Chinese hot
mustard paste (see Tidbits)
1 to 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large skinless chicken breast
one 8-ounce can water chestnuts,
drained and minced (about
one 6-ounce can diced straw
mushrooms, drained and
minced (about 2⁄3 cup)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons chopped green
1 to 1½ cups fried maifun rice
sticks (see Tidbits)
4 to 5 iceberg lettuce cups
1. Make the special sauce (for spooning over your lettuce
wraps) by dissolving the sugar in the water in a small bowl.
Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili oil. Add the chopped
green onion and set the sauce aside until you’re ready to
serve the lettuce wraps. Eventually you will add Chinese mustard
and garlic chili sauce to this special sauce mixture to
pour over each of your lettuce wraps. In the restaurant, waiters
prepare the sauce at your table the same way based on
your desired heat level. We’ll get into the specifi cs of that in
2. Prepare the stir-fry sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together
in a small bowl.
3. To prepare the filling for your lettuce wraps, heat 1 tablespoon
of the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan or wok over
high heat. Sauté the chicken breast for 4 to 5 minutes per
side, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the
pan to cool. Wipe out the pan.
4. As the chicken cools, chop your water chestnuts and mushrooms
into pieces that are about the size of small peas. If you
haven’t fried the maifun rice sticks, this is a good time to do
5. When you can handle the chicken, hack it up with a sharp
knife so that no piece is bigger than a dime. With the pan or
wok back on high heat, add the 3 remaining tablespoons of
oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, water chestnuts,
mushrooms, and garlic to the pan. Cook the mixture for 2
minutes, stirring often. Add the stir-fry sauce to the pan and
sauté the mixture for a couple more minutes, then stir in the
green onions and spoon everything out onto a bed of fried
maifun rice noodles on a serving dish.
6. Serve the chicken with a side of lettuce cups. Make these lettuce
cups by slicing the top off of a head of iceberg lettuce
right through the middle of the head. Pull your lettuce cups
off of the outside of this slice.
7. Prepare the special sauce at the table by adding your desired
measurement of hot mustard and chili sauce to the special
sauce blend: 1 teaspoon of chili garlic sauce for mild, ½ teaspoon
of mustard paste plus 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce for
medium, and 1 teaspoon of mustard paste and 3 teaspoons
of chili garlic sauce for hot. Stir well.
8. Assemble each lettuce wrap by spooning the fi lling into a
lettuce cup, adding special sauce over the top and eating it
like a taco.
• SERVES 2 AS AN APPETIZER.
Follow the directions on the package for frying the maifun rice
sticks—usually by pouring 2 inches of vegetable oil into a pan and
heating it to around 400 degrees F. Add the maifun, and when it
fl oats to the top remove it to a paper towel.