Sunday, February 14, 2010

A recipe worth saving....Asian Lettuce Wraps

I was craving P.F. Chang's last week and having no P.F. Chang's anywhere close to my house, decided to try to copycat our favorite appetizer- lettuce wraps.  I found a recipe on RecipeZaar and decided it was worth working with.  The following recipe is what I came up with.  Two thumbs up from me and the mister!  Most of the things I make consist of ingredients that I have on hand or buy on a regular basis, but I realize not everyone keeps sesame oil, rice vinegar, and chili paste in their pantry......however I highly recommend that you start, because if you make stir-fry-like meals often (or want to) it will make a huge difference in the end result.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

1/2 lb ground turkey
1/2 package tofu (extra firm)
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can water chestnuts, chopped
sesame oil
About 1/8 tsp each:
   garlic powder
   white pepper
Iceberg, romaine, or butter lettuce- anything with big leaves

Stir fry sauce:
2 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 tsp rice vinegar

"Special" sauce:
2 T. white sugar
1/4 cup water
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. rice vinegar
generous squeeze of ketchup
squeeze of lemon juice
dash of sesame oil
1-2 tsp chili paste

Optional: crispy rice noodles


1.  If you're an old expert at tofu, skip ahead to #2.  If you've never stir-fried tofu before, this is what it looks like packaged...

You can find it in the produce department, usually somewhere by the packaged herbs and refrigerated salad dressings.  When cooking with tofu, you should start by pressing the water out of it.  Extra firm tofu doesn't need as much prep as other tofu, but I still give it a shortened treatment.  I usually put it in a colander/strainer, set that on top of a bowl, then put paper towels or a (clean!) dish towel over the top of the tofu, and set something heavy on top of it.

Leave it like that for 10 minutes or so, flip it over and repeat.  Cut the tofu block in half and put one half in a freezer bag, give it an expiration date 4-5 months out, and stick it in the freezer.  The next time you use tofu in a stir fry it will actually turn out even better and crumbly and be more ground meat-like....don't be afraid of the yellow/brown color it will inevitably turn, I promise that does not mean that it has gone bad.

2. Mix "special" sauce by dissolving sugar in water, then add remaining ingredients and whisk with a fork.  Set aside.

3. Mix stir fry sauce by whisking brown sugar into soy sauce and rice vinegar.  Adjust to taste. (And by this I mean stick your finger in it and lick it!  If it's not sweet enough for your liking, add more sugar.  If it's too sweet, add more soy sauce!)

2. Cut tofu into 1/2 inch cubes.  Heat small amount of sesame oil in a pan over med- med/high heat.  Prepare stir fry sauce.  Toss tofu in hot oil, add about a third to a half of the stir fry sauce and cook 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Tofu should be browned, and feel free to crumble it as you stir, esp. if you are looking to "hide" it from someone :)  Remove from heat and transfer to bowl/plate and set aside.

3. In same pan, heat another splash of sesame oil.  Saute onions and garlic for a couple of minutes, add turkey, ginger, garlic powder, and white pepper, and cook about 3 minutes...add water chesnuts and remaining stir fry sauce, stir until well coated, then add tofu and stir and cook until thoroughly heated.

4. Scoop mixture into lettuce "cups" and top with special sauce and if desired sprinkle with crispy rice noodles.

5. Serve as an appetizer for four or light meal for two, and prepare yourself to be complimented on your top chef-ery.


  1. We LOVE doing lettuce wraps too and highly recommend using butter lettuce if you can find it!

  2. All I have to say is we made this tonight and YUM!!!! Sooooo good! Even our 18 month old liked it and wanted seconds! Thanks for the recipe Molly!