My family almost never ate out when I was a kid. We had family dinners every night up until I was in high school (at which point I was too busy to ever be home for dinner), usually consisting of some incredible vegetable concoction my Mom made, or steak night if it was Dad’s turn to cook. I was perfectly happy to eat at home, and I don’t think I really knew I was missing much… UNTIL I got to college. All of a sudden I was surrounded by people who knew about all these restaurants, chains or otherwise, that I’d never even heard of! My first time having sushi was the summer before I went to college, and I probably ate out more that first quarter than I had the rest of my life combined! College is for discovery, right? I discovered restaurants!
One place I’d never been before was PF Changs. It seemed like everyone in St. Louis, where I was for school, was in love with PF Changs. “OMG PF CHANGS LETTUCE WRAP!” omg omg omg. I had no idea what they were talking about, and frankly a “lettuce wrap” sounded absolutely disgusting. Then, I went and had one. OMG OMG OMG. At that point in my life I wasn’t overly concerned with organic ingredients and sodium consumption, and was pretty sure I’d discovered the best food on the planet. Too bad PF Changs was nearly an hour from campus and not really in my college-student budget for dinner every night. BOO.
Luckily, here we are again, making imitation PF Changs wraps in chard from the backyard! And they’re SO EASY TO MAKE! Most Asian food, upon hitting my taste buds, screams “I’M REALLY HARD TO MAKE!” but, now that I’m learning more about Asian cooking, I now know that really isn’t true. It’s all about the right sauces! This recipe really couldn’t be easier: cook up some chicken, mix some sauces together, and dump it all together. Voila! Now you have a tasty meal, cooked at home, that your entire family will go crazy over.
Now, usually these are served in butter lettuce leaves. I’m not against butter lettuce, I just happened to have chard on hand! You can do whatever you want! I even though, if you were going for more of an appetizer, that serving these in little endive cups would be AMAZING. And cute! Someone please do that! And invite me to your party. I’m assuming you’re having a party if you’re serving appetizers. I want to come!!
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp Sriracha
- 3 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
- 2 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds (toasted or untoasted)
- 8–10 fresh chard leaves
- In a small bowl, mix together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, grated ginger, sriracha, and 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium flame, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp sesame oil. When it is hot, add the ground chicken. Cook, breaking up the pieces with a spatula, until fully browned — about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and onion, along with the mixed sauce. Mix well, and continue to cook until the onions are translucent — another 3-5 minutes.
- Add the sliced water chestnuts and green onions and cook for another two minutes.
- Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Serve in fresh chard leaves.