Thursday, January 23, 2014

America's Test Kitchen - Chinese Lettuce Wraps

We love P. F. Chang's chicken lettuce wraps. We looked for the recipe on and off, but when we saw the America's Test Kitchen (aka Cook's Country Kitchen), we knew we finally had to make it!
We wanted a bit more heat, there is no spiciness to the flavor. Next time we will add more pepper flakes and serve a spicy hot sauce with it.
I used frozen chicken breast, cut into chucks and processed per the 8 - 10 pulses in the food processor. I marinated the chicken for about 6 hours in advance without any problem.
Worked great!
Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps by America's Test Kitchen
This dish, popularized by chain restaurants like P.F. Chang’s is based on a Cantonese dish called sung choy bao. Most recipes for this dish suffer from a similar fate—stringy, tasteless meat drowned in a bland sauce. To remedy this, start with flavorful chicken. Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as an appetizer
To make an entrée, serve this dish with steamed white rice.

    1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    2 teaspoons Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry
    2 teaspoons soy sauce
    2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (next time may add Chinese chili oil)
    2 teaspoons cornstarch
    3 tablespoons oyster sauce
    1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry
    2 teaspoons soy sauce
    2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I would double)
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (Iused 4 celery ribs)
    6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin (used fresh button mushrooms sliced thin)
    1/2 cup water chestnuts, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (used canned)
    2 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 head Bibb lettuce (8 ounces), washed and dried, leaves separated and left whole (we used iceberg).
Hoisin sauce

    1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Place chicken pieces on large plate in single layer. Freeze meat until firm and starting to harden around edges, about 20 minutes.
    2. Whisk rice wine, soy sauce, oil, and cornstarch together in bowl. Pulse half of meat in food processor until coarsely chopped into ¼- to 1/8-inch pieces, about 10 pulses. Transfer meat to bowl with rice wine mixture and repeat with remaining chunks. Toss chicken to coat and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
    3. FOR THE SAUCE: Whisk all ingredients together in bowl; set aside.
    4. FOR THE STIR-FRY: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until opaque, 3 to 4 minutes (maybe add a chopped fresh jalapeno next time). Transfer to bowl and wipe out skillet.
    5. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over high heat until smoking. Add celery and mushrooms; cook, stirring constantly, until mushrooms have reduced in size by half and celery is crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add water chestnuts, scallion whites, and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    6. Whisk sauce to recombine. Return chicken to skillet; add sauce and toss to combine. Spoon into lettuce leaves and sprinkle with scallion greens.
Serve, passing hoisin sauce separately.