May 30, 2020

pf chang's-style lettuce wrap

Hello, hello, Dear Raders!

There is so much information out in the web-osphere and I am sure each blog holds a special place in your heart, whether it is for the recipes, the photos, the personal annecdotes or the gabbiness of the site, but I wonder what attracts you to this blog? I would love to focus on the content you care about instead of trying to mind read over the internet. If you wouldn't mind slapping a comment to the bottom with your preference, I will try my best to make you happy.


To get back into blogging, I am sharing an easy meatless, vegetarian, vegan recipe and I want to start ranking the difficulty and time it should take to cook a recipe. With that in mind, I have come up with this visual, which breaks it down by time, ingredients and dishes needed to prepare and cook ...

Of course, I reserve the right (and probably the need) to update or make changes to this chart as the concept evolves, but these are the expectations I look forward to achieving. 


Time: 20 minutes
Dishes: skillet, bowl, measuring cup
Side Recommendations: Cooked rice and steamed vegetables

So, dear readers, here is the first recipe. It is a throw-back to the times when eating out was a thing (pre-pandemic era). Here is my version of PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps, but if you serve it with rice it can become a meal. Heat the wok (or cast iron skillet, as in my case) and get to cooking. 

I list this as an easy recipe, without the optional dipping sauce, cuz let's face it, sauces take forever and a day to make. Skip it, use hot mustard or chili oil instead (or Sriracha) and you're still in good shape.

Speedy Cooking Tips

  • Pull out all ingredients and dishes before you start.
  • Heat the cast iron skillet or wok while you chop the protein.
  • Mince the other ingredients while the protein cooks.
  • Prepare the sauces while the dish cooks.
  • Clean the lettuce while the dish cooks.

Lettuce Wraps

Makes 4 servings 

1. Dipping Sauce (optional): mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until sugar dissolves. Set aside. 

Dipping Sauce (optional):
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tablespoon tamari
1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil

2. Stir Fry Sauce: mix all the ingredients and set aside.

Stir Fry Sauce:
3 tablespoon tamari
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

3. Stir Fry: Heat the oil in a large skillet or work over medium-high heat. Add the protein and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the water chestnuts, mushrooms and onions. Cook until the chestnuts are golden, another 5 minutes.

Stir Fry:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 seitan cutlets, 1 package firm tofu or 4 Gardein scallopini, chopped
1 (8-oz) can water chestnuts, minced
1 cup mushrooms, minced (optional)
1/4 small onion, minced
5. Add the Stir Fry Sauce, mix and cook until it evaporates about 1 minute.

6. Serve the Stir Fry with the lettuce leaves and optional Dipping Sauce or chili oil or hot mustard and optional rice. 

For Serving:
Lettuce leaves
Fried rice noodles (optional)
Cooked rice (optional)

© 2020 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

May 24, 2020

Interest Gauge

Hello Dear Readers! 

It has been a hot minute since I've posted on the blog and I was thinking of starting to post again regularly (at least weekly), but I wonder if there is any interest out there.

If you want to hear from me again and see what I can conjure in the kitchen, leave a comment or shoot me an email. [zsu (at) zsusveganpantry (dot) com]

As you know, to post quality snippets is no small effort and I'd like to know if there are some folks who are even interested! 

Since I am still in school, about to graduate and get a JOB, my kitchen is now on stream-lined mode and everything has to be prepared and cooked with the least fuss and muss - but we still like food to taste great and be healthy. 

With that in mind, do you want to see more?

In the meantime, it has been a tradition of ours to make Sin Carne Asada Tacos for Memorial Day and since my son is in town for a few more months (Covid school "break"), and it is his birthday, it's doubly appropriate. Use any seitan or even slabs of tofu, if that's your calling, but if you have time to make the SteaK, I highly recommend it!

As always, thank you for your time!

Zsu Dever


Sin Carne Asada Tacos

Makes 6 to 8 servings



3 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari

4 scallions, coarsely chopped

10 garlic cloves

2 serrano or jalapeno chiles

½ teaspoon sea salt

Ground black pepper

2 pounds SteaK Seitan

2 onions, cut into ¾ -inch thick rings

Oil for the grill, as needed


Small (3-inch) corn tortillas, as needed

Arbol Salsa, recipe below

Guacamole, recipe below

Vegan cheese, crumbled

Vegan sour cream

Pickled jalapenos

Cilantro leaves

Lime wedges

1. Marinade: Combine the oil, juices, tamari, scallions, garlic, chiles, salt and black pepper in a blender. Blend well and transfer to a large baking dish. Add the seitan and mix well to coat. Set aside to marinate overnight.

2. Heat your grill or grill pan. Oil the grates or pan. Grill the seitan, basting with thesauce as needed, and onions until lightly charred, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a work surface and cut into slices. Heat the tortillas on the grill, about 30 seconds to 1 minutes.

3. Place two tortillas on top of each other and fill with seitan, onions and choice of toppings. Enjoy!

Arbol Salsa

2 to 6 dried arbol chiles

2 California chiles (also known as dried Anaheim peppers)

2 medium ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 6 wedges

½ medium onion, cut into ½-inch slices

4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

Sea salt and black pepper

2 to 3 splashes sherry vinegar

1. Remove the stems and most of the seeds of the chiles. Heat the chiles in a pan (or grill pan)  until soft and lightly colored. Transfer to a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside to rehydrate for 20 minute. Drain the chiles and transfer the chiles to a blender.

2. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Grill the tomatoes, onion and garlic until lightly charred. Transfer the tomatoes and onion to a blender. Peel the garlic and transfer to the blender.

3. Blend the mixture until smooth. Season with salt, black pepper and vinegar. Blend again and adjust seasoning.

4. Salsa will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.



5 medium ripe Hass avocado, mashed

1 small ripe tomato, diced

3/4 cup minced red onion

1/4 cup minced cilantro

1 to 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno (optional)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt and black pepper


1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl using a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, black pepper and lime juice.


 © 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.