P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc.'s 40-plus restaurant chain, operating in 19 states, owes much of its success to founder Paul Fleming's unique idea of pairing oriental cuisine with American-style service. At the outset, when he opened the first of the restaurants in Scottsdale, Arizona, Fleming broke with the traditional Chinese restaurant format. With his collaborator, chef Philip Chiang, he devised a comparatively limited menu that featured far fewer dishes than the menus of typical, full-service, Chinese restaurants. Incorporating an American steak house dining style and a formidable selection of wines and cheeses, P.F. Chang's offers such additional oriental restaurant anomalies as espresso and cappuccino. Although P.F. Chang's China Bistros are stylish in decor, displaying motifs from the Ming and T'ang Dynasties and hand-painted murals, the dishes are moderately priced, partly because one of Fleming's aims was to provide high quality but affordable Chinese food for "the masses."

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General Tao Chicken




GENERAL TAO CHICKEN
PF Chang's Copycat Recipe

Sauce:
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground or fresh ginger
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Chicken:
2 large boneless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Mix sauce ingredients together.  Cover and store in the fridge. Slice semi-frozen chicken in thin slices.  Put oil in a wok on medium high heat.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and pepper.Using a few chicken pieces at a time, dip into flour mixture.  Shake off excess. Put coated chicken pieces into hot oil.  Fry up to a minute; until golden brown. Drain chicken pieces on paper towel. Repeat until all chicken pieces are cooked.

Drain all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil from the wok. Put chili peppers in oil.  Warm up peppers on medium heat for a minute or two. Slowly pour sauce into hot oil. Stir constantly, until sauce thickens up. Turn off the wok. Put the cooked chicken pieces into sauce.  Stir to coat chicken thoroughly.  Serve over hot rice.

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