Has anyone been to P.F. Chang’s yet to try their new gluten-free menu? I haven’t been yet, it’s a little tough during the school week but will be going soon! Sam and I are going to have a mommy/son “date” on Friday (no school) and go to P.F. Chang’s for lunch (then to see Alice in Wonderland)! It will be nice to try something new, I get the exact same thing every time I go: Cantonese Shrimp with brown rice and I always manage to sneak in a lettuce wrap (or 2). The Egg Drop soup is really good too, we order the big bowl and take the left overs home, it heats up well (it’s more cost-effective to buy the bowl and take the leftovers home).
Anyway, I really like the lettuce wraps, we all do in our family, but I like to limit how often we eat out to minimize our risk of cross-contamination. So, what’s a girl to do? Make her own of course! I have been planning this for awhile, but I needed to do my research. One of my friends is a manager at my local P.F. Changs and I bribed him to tell me how they make those poofy rice noodles! I’m sure I could have Googled it (Google knows everything, sometimes spooky, usually beneficial) but somehow it sounded better to refer to my “inside scoop!” 😀 He didn’t give me the full recipe though, so I Googled a “copycat” recipe and landed on this one as my first experiment. I found the recipe on Epicurean.com, I will list it again here with my GF Tweaks/Suggestions off to the side so I can show you how I go about modifying recipes to fit my family’s dietary restrictions.
P.F.Chang’s Soothing Lettuce Wraps
8 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
1 tsp. Cornstarch (For Corn-Free: use an equal amount of arrowroot powder)
2 tsp. Dry Sherry (if you need a substitute for the Sherry, I found this website that offers a suggestion. Look under “Sherry,” then follow directions for Substituting Sherry in a Marinade)
2 tsp. Water
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
1 1/2-pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken (I used a blend of thigh and breast meat. A tip to help with cubing/dicing the chicken: cut it while it is still partially frozen, it is much easier!!)
5 Tbs. Oil (I used Sesame Oil)
1 tsp. fresh Ginger, minced (I just learned this trick: to peel ginger, use a metal spoon)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Green Onions, sliced
2 small Dried Chilis, (optional)
8-oz. can Bamboo Shoots, minced
8-oz. can Water Chestnuts, minced
1 package Cellophane Chinese Rice Noodles, prepared according to package (don’t prepare according to the package, just break into small pieces, about 1 1/2 to 2-inches or so in length. You will drop the dry, uncooked noodles into hot oil for about 2 seconds – really, no longer, or they will burn, see photo tutorial below)
1 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce (For Soy-Free, try making your own Hoisin Sauce and sub the soy sauce with Coconut Aminos. For Corn-Free: Substitute the distilled vinegar in the same recipe with apple cider vinegar and use a corn-free hot sauce)
1 Tbsp. Soy sauce (be sure to use Gluten Free Tamari. For Soy-Free: try using Coconut Aminos instead)
1 Tbsp. Dry sherry
2 Tbsp. Water
1 tsp. Sesame Oil (coconut oil works great too)
1 tsp. Sugar (or use agave nectar if you avoid cane sugar)
2 tsp. Cornstarch (For Corn-Free: use an equal amount of arrowroot powder)
Lettuce for wrapping
1). Cover mushrooms with boiling water, let stand 30 minutes then drain. Cut and discard woody stems, mince mushrooms, set aside.
2). Mix all ingredients for cooking sauce in bowl, and set aside.
3). In medium bowl, combine cornstarch (or arrowroot), sherry, water, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and chicken. Stir to coat chicken thoroughly.
4). Stir in 1 tsp. oil and let sit 15 minutes to marinate.
5). Heat wok or large skillet over medium high heat.
6). Add 3 Tbsp oil, then add chicken and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
7). Add 2 Tbsp oil to pan.
8). Add ginger, garlic, chilies (if desired), and onion; stir fry about a minute or so.
9). Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts; stir fry an additional 2 minutes.
10). Return chicken to pan.
11). Add mixed cooking sauce to pan. Cook until thickened and hot.
12). Place broken and fried cellophane noodles on bottom of a serving dish, hen pour chicken mixture on top of noodles. Spoon filling onto a lettuce leaf, top with GF soy sauce (to taste), roll and enjoy!
Okay, here is the photo montage portion of the recipe. Please let me know if you like this aspect or if it is annoying. I do not presume that someone cannot figure this out on their own, but I do this more with my kids in mind (flash forward 15+ years) or as a guide for someone who is new to cooking in general (especially with the gluten-free baked goods).
I found these dried Shiitake mushrooms at Whole Foods, in the Asian section.
Place 8 dried Shiitake mushrooms in a bowl,
Pour hot water over the mushrooms,
allow to set for 30 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the cooking sauce,
Whisk together. I made this earlier in the day then stored in the refrigerator until I was ready for it.
I found these at Whole Foods as well, but they are also available at Asian markets.
Break the noodles up into 1 1/2 – 2-inch pieces (roughly)
Heat the oil (I used canola), just make sure it is not too hot, 325° F. – 350° F. is optimal.
Drop the uncooked and broken rice noodles into the hot oil,
watch them “poof,” then remove promptly.
Just in case you missed it (okay, this was just A LOT of fun!)
Remove the noodles quickly, or they will “brown” as you see in this picture!
I am weaning through my canned products, does anyone know if there is a fresh or frozen version of water chesnuts or bamboo shoots??
Yes, I know this a product of China. Yes, I know this product probably barely passed the minimum FDA standards. Based on some of my previous posts, you know this is somewhat of a concern of mine. And yes, our Asian cooking may have to exclude water chestnuts and bamboo shoots that are the “Product of China” in the future. Do your own research…Google strikes again!
Peel your fresh ginger with a spoon, very easy and you are less likely to end up with a “totem pole” band-aid finger!
Stir-fry chicken until fully cooked, remove from pan and set aside (I put it on a paper towel covered plate). Drain any remaining liquid from the pan. I will try to “mince” the chicken next time (when Mike is home so he can do it!!).
After you remove the chicken, drain any remaining chicken “liquid,” then add oil, ginger, garlic and green onion. Stir-fry for about a minute.
Add “minced” water chesnuts and bamboo shoots,
Stir-fry for a couple of minutes,
Add cooking sauce,
Serve over “poofy” fried rice noodles!
Wrap in lettuce of your choice, enjoy!!
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