6 to 8 dried shiitake mushrooms (½ cup finely chopped when rehydrated)
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup coarsely ground white meat chicken (about 1 skinless chicken breast fillet)
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup finely chopped canned water chestnuts (1 8-ounce can)
¼ cup chopped green onions (green part only)

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
½ cup warm water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped green onion (green part only)
½ to 1 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard paste
1 to 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon black mushroom soy sauce
5 tablespoons water
5 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce (Lee Kum Kee is best)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (Lee Kum Kee is best)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice cooking wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 to 6 cups vegetable oil (for frying saifun)
1 to 1½ cups fried saifun bean threads

1 head iceberg lettuce

Cooking method

1-Rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms by filling a medium saucepan about halfway with water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then turn off the heat and add the mushrooms. Use a smaller pan or bowl to push down on the mushrooms to make sure they are completely submerged in the water. Let the mushrooms soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until they are soft.

2-Make the table sauce for spooning over your lettuce wraps by dissolving the sugar in the water in a small bowl. Add the soy sauce and rice vinegar. Add the chopped green onion and set the sauce aside until you’re ready to serve the lettuce wraps. Eventually you will add the Chinese mustard and chili garlic sauce to this special sauce mixture to pour over each of your lettuce wraps. In the restaurant, waiters prepare the sauce at your table the same way based on your desired heat level. We’ll get to the specifics of that in step 9.

3-Prepare the lettuce wrap sauce by combining the black soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the water, the sugar, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, and cooking wine in a small bowl. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave on high and stir to dissolve the sugar. Dissolve the cornstarch with the remaining 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and add this slurry to the lettuce wrap sauce.

4-Prepare the lettuce cups by slicing the top off a head of lettuce through the middle. Carefully remove the firm outer leaves of lettuce and use kitchen scissors to trim the edges of 6 lettuce leaves so that they are each about 5 inches in diameter.

5-Prepare the saifun bean threads by preheating 4 to 6 cups of oil in a wok or saucepan over high heat to 375 degrees F. When the oil is hot, break up a chunk of saifun and flash fry it for just a second or two until it puffs up, then remove it from the oil and drain on paper towels.

6-Preheat a wok (or cast-iron skillet) with 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken and stir it when it begins to brown. As the chicken cooks, sprinkle it with the salt and white pepper.

7-Add the garlic and let it cook for 20 seconds or until it begins to brown, then add the mushrooms and water chestnuts and cook for a minute or two. Add the lettuce wrap sauce. Continue cooking until the sauce reduces. Add the green onions and remove the wok or skillet from the heat.

Arrange a bed of fried saifun rice noodles on a serving plate. Spoon the lettuce wrap filling onto the bean threads and serve with lettuce cups on the side.

9-Prepare the table sauce for spooning onto the lettuce wraps by adding your desired measurement of hot mustard and chili sauce based on preferred spiciness: 1 teaspoon of chili sauce for MILD, ½ teaspoon of mustard paste plus 2 teaspoons of chili sauce for MEDIUM, and 1 teaspoon of mustard paste and 1 tablespoon of chili sauce for HOT. Stir well.

10-To serve, assemble each lettuce wrap by spooning the filling into a lettuce cup, adding the sauce over the top, and eating it like a taco.

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