On the weekends, when I have some extra time, I will often tackle a new, time-consuming or difficult dish. Last weekend I tackled P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wraps. Heidi of Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom found a copycat recipe and recently made them for her family. So I decided to try my hand at making them vegetarian. They turned out great!
Be sure to check out the original recipe over at Heidi’s blog. I only made a few modifications.
I used fresh shiitake instead of the dried as they are so easy to find at our local Trader Joe’s. And I used a one pound container of extra-firm tofu in place of the chicken. I sliced the tofu into 8 slabs and pressed them between clean dish towels to remove the excess water. Then I cut the slabs into cubes about 1/4 – 1/2″ in size.
I did omit the oyster sauce as I have not been able to find a vegetarian oyster sauce that is also gluten free. Yes, they make vegetarian ‘oyster’ sauce – it is typically made from mushrooms – but we were unable to find one that was safe for both of us after looking at the international market, an Asian grocery and Whole Foods. If anyone knows of one that is gluten free AND vegetarian, please let me know. I am not sure there is one to be found.
So, instead of the oyster sauce, I increased both the Hoisin and soy sauce to 2 tablespoons.
Initially when I read the recipe I was concerned about the amount of oil used (5+ Tbsp) and so I started out using a lot less but found I needed to add more as I went along. I am not sure in the end whether I used less than called for or not. So, use your judgment and start with less if you want, but I think you will need to add more, just like I did.
The rice noodles were a lot of fun, like Heidi says. The key is keeping your oil the correct temperature, and Heidi’s suggested temperature is right on. Initially my oil started getting too hot and the noodles were burning before I could get them out of the pan. When I brought the temperature back down, they were perfect and even if I couldn’t get all of the little guys out of the pan on the first scoop, they didn’t burn as quickly and I had a little leeway to chase loose noodles around the oil without them burning. Also, you don’t have to make very many noodles. I broke up a bunch of noodles in preparation for frying them and I ended up with a huge plate full, of which some were burnt, but I still had way too many. So our chickens got to enjoy the extras and the overly crispy, burnt ones.
Just a note, if you are cooking for someone who requires a gluten free diet, be sure your ingredients are gluten free; in particular, the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and oyster sauce.
So, if you are gluten free and vegetarian, you can now try some Lettuce Wraps! Check out P.F.Chang’s gluten free menu – they only offer the chicken wraps gluten free, so they aren’t an option for everyone. Perhaps they don’t make them vegetarian because, like me, they can’t find a vegetarian and gluten free ‘oyster’ sauce? Hmm…