(Rachel – The Vegan-Eatin’ Daughter)
I love P.F. Changs. It’s my go-to special occasion restaurant when I get to do the picking (I’m still working on Jared and Asian food–baby steps). In fact, that’s where I asked to go for Mother’s Day. We took Jackson along and sat outside on the patio on a beautiful Spring day. As usual, the service and food were both great. Their chefs understand and respect vegan diets, which makes eating there so easy. However, the view was of a busy mall parking lot and there was an out of control gnat problem. I longed for my own patio with our country pasture view and my own personal fly swatter.
I’ve started to notice more often than not, I regret dining out. Whether for comfort, ease with Jackson, or control over what goes into our food, I just really prefer eating at home these days. So this week, I made my own version of P.F. Chang’s famous lettuce wraps. Fine dinin’ in my t-shirt and yoga pants on my own back porch. Aahhh.
Just like theirs, these can be made with tofu or chicken. The sweet ginger sauce is good enough to drink. And since you made it at home, their really will be no one around to judge you if you choose to do so. Just make sure you save some for the lettuce wraps.
Thai Lettuce Wraps with a Sweet Ginger Sauce
Serves 4 entree sizes or 8 appetizer portions
1 block of firm tofu, crumbled or chopped into small cubes (could also use shredded or chopped chicken)
1 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 chili pepper, sliced thinly
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 14.5 oz can baby corn, drained and chopped
1/2 c. diced canned pineapple (reserve juice for sauce)
1 8 oz can water chestnuts, drained and roughly chopped
1 8 oz can bamboo shoots, drained
2 green onions, chopped
several lettuce leaves (iceberg or romaine work nicely)
(Other veggies like shredded carrots and cabbage would work well in this too)
Marinade & Dipping Sauce
1 T. canola oil
2 T. fresh ginger, minced or finely diced
1 T. garlic, minced
1/2 c. Braggs Amino Acids (or Soy Sauce)
3 T. sweet chili sauce (in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores)
2 T. brown sugar
1 c. pineapple juice (buy a 15 oz can of diced pineapples and use juice here and pineapples in stir-fry)
1/2 c. veggie broth or water
1/2 cup toasted cashews, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
1 green onion, chopped
Marinade & Dipping Sauce
In a sauce pan, heat canola oil on medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Set aside 1 cup. When you get the stir-fry going, bring remaining sauce to a boil, then simmer on med-low to reduce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Use half of the reserved sauce to marinate the tofu or protein for 30 minutes or longer. (This can be done the night before to save time the next day.)
In a large skillet or wok, heat about a tablespoon or so of canola oil on medium high. I like to chop as I cook, so chop the onions while the oil is heating, then chop the garlic and add it, then the chili, then the mushrooms, baby corn, pineapple, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots.
In a separate nonstick skillet, heat about two tablespoons of canola oil and the tofu on medium high heat. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining reserved sauce and cook for a few more minutes. Then, combine the tofu with the veggies. Add the green onions at the last minute. (Follow similar steps for chicken, but adjust cooking time as needed.)
Serve in lettuce cups, with chopped cashews, cilantro, and more green onions for toppings on the side and individual sides of the dipping sauce.
Notes: I changed the recipe slightly from what is pictured. I cooked the tofu with the veggies and it tasted good, but didn’t pick up as much color as it gets when cooked on it’s own, so I adjusted it so yours should have more color than mine did. Also, the lettuce I used was Living Lettuce. It looked really pretty, but got mushy too fast. It needs something sturdier like romaine or ice berg.
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