Better Than PF Chang’s Minced Chicken and Pine Nuts in Lettuce Cups

Oh my gosh! Oh my GOSH! OH MY GOSH!!! I have been a PF Chang’s Lettuce Cup fanatic FOREVER! But you know that little Chinese restaurant near Mom’s house — the one just off Mission Blvd? Their Minced Chicken and pine nutsin Lettuce Cups are EVEN BETTER! I’ve written to them begging for the recipe on numerous occasions, but they are tight-lipped, refusing even to acknowledge receiving my eloquent pleas. I’ve even tried to re-create the recipe on my own, only to be met with failure again and again.

And then yesterday, as I was looking through my favorite blogs, THIS recipe popped up, and I knew that it was going to be awfully close. And it was INCREDIBLE!! Butter lettuce, little caramelized bits of chicken, with water chestnuts, mushrooms, pine nuts and a bangin’ sauce–can’t you just imagine those flavors bursting in your mouth? Thank you to Stephanie Stiavetti at Wasabimon for this great recipe. I made a couple small changes — chicken thighs and of course pine nuts. I made these tonight with coconut rice — and I’m in HEAVEN!! Yes, that’s MY dinner on the photo above.

Don’t be a baby and blow by this recipe because it seems like it’s a little long. It’s not. The sauces go together in 3 minutes — and the hardest part was chopping the chicken thighs into small pieces — I made the whole meal in the time it took to cook the rice.

Ingredients for finishing sauce:

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

To make the finishing sauce: In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup warm water, then add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Mix well and let chill in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

Just before serving, combine 1 teaspoons hot water with dijon mustard and garlic and mix in small bowl. Add to the finishing sauce, 1/2 a teaspoon at time to taste.

Ingredients for stir-fry sauce:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

To make the stir-fry sauce: Prep the stir fry sauce by mixing soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar in a small bowl.

Ingredients for chicken stir-fry:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 – 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, minced
1/2 cup mushrooms, minced
1/2 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
4 boneless skinless thighs cubed to 1/2″ — corn-kernel-sized
8 large leaves of butter lettuce (my fave) or iceberg lettuce or even Napa cabbage.

To make the chicken stir-fry:

Combine oils and add to wok or large frying pan. Heat oil over high heat until it glistens, about one minute. Add chicken and saute until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Turn the heat under the wok down to medium-high. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, wait one minute, and then add garlic, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and the stir-fry sauce you prepared earlier. Stir-fry everything until the mushrooms have cooked through, about 4 minutes, and remove to a serving dish.
Serve stir-fry with butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce cups. Drizzle with finishing sauce.

One Response to “Better Than PF Chang’s Minced Chicken and Pine Nuts in Lettuce Cups”
  1. Caitlin says:

    These were AWESOME Trisha! I made them for dinner last night, and they were definitely the hit of the week…delicious flavor and easy to make. Mo’ like this! 5 stars in my book!

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