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Monday, November 15, 2010

"P.F. Chang's" Lettuce Wraps


Years ago, I started hearing about the lettuce wraps at P.F. Changs. I believe the first time was when I was at a salon chatting with the girl who was washing my hair. She got really excited when she spoke of the P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps. I thought this was really odd because a "lettuce wrap" sounded so unappealing to me. I figured it was a fallout from the Atkins/South Beach craze.

When we moved in May, we received a coupon for free lettuce wraps at a nearby restaurant Pei Wei, which we soon discovered is a sister company of P.F. Chang's. Importantly, Pei Wei's lettuce wraps are the same as the popular ones from P.F. Chang's!

We quickly made a stop there for for dinner, and I was blown away by the lettuce wraps! They are SO good - very flavorful with a nice balance of crunch. We then went back again...and again...and each time I ordered the lettuce wraps as my meal. Now that we've moved and are no longer close to Pei Wei, I knew I had to devise a way to get in my lettuce wrap fix. Also, as delicious as they were, it was obvious that they use a heavy hand with the oil, as is true for most restaurants.

This copycat of P.F. Chang's/Pei Wei's lettuce wraps is really delicious, and nearly spot on. The restaurant uses ground chicken; whereas, this recipe simply has you cut chicken breast into small pieces, which I prefer anyway. The flavors are very similar but being able to control the amount of oil (and salt!) is the great benefit of making it at home. I just love the combination of ingredients - chicken with chopped mushrooms and water chestnuts. I usually hate mushrooms, but I think because they are chopped so small and sauteed in a sauce they impart more texture than flavor. The water chestnuts add some crunch, which I love. We will definitely be making these again, especially now that I've purchased several of these condiments!

"P.F. Chang's" Lettuce Wraps

For the wraps:
2 tablespoons oil of choice, divided (we used Canola)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup water chestnuts
2/3 cup mushrooms
3 tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4-6 iceberg lettuce leaves

For the special sauce:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce (we use reduced sodium)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil*
1 tablespoon hot mustard*
2 teaspoons hot water
1 - 2 teaspoons garlic and red chile paste*

For the stir fry sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce (we use reduced sodium)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

*I found all of these in the Asian section of my grocery store

1. Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in the water in a small bowl. Add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice, and sesame oil. Mix well and refrigerate sauce until ready to serve.

2. Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well.

3. Bring 1 tablespoon oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side until done; remove from pan to cool. Keep oil in pan and keep hot.

4. While the chicken cools, mince the mushrooms and water chestnuts to the size of small peas.

5. Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.

6. Mince the cooled chicken to the sized of small peas.

7. With the pan still on high heat, add the other tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts, and mushrooms to the pan. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes.

8. To complete the "special sauce," add your desired measurement of the mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to reach preferred spiciness.

9. Serve the chicken mixture in the lettuce cups and top with "special sauce" as desired.

Source: Adapted from


  1. I used to snuff at the idea of lettuce wraps..I always thought I'd much rather have a tortilla. But I agree, I ate a lettuce taco in California last month and it was great--I'll have to bookmark this recipe to try out in the future!

  2. you rock! the other lettuce wrap recipes i've tried are just not hacking it. these look perfect. thanks, meghan!

  3. I've never been to PF Chang's but I also always hear about their lettuce wraps! I'm going to save this recipe - looks so yummy :)

  4. These are my favorite from P.F. Changs! I'm definitely going to try these soon. Thanks for sharing.


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