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."




Salt and Pepper Prawns

P.F. Chang's China Bistro Copycat Recipe

Serves 4

Shrimp and Seasoning:

1 tablespoon Szechwan pepper
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons flaked sea salt
2 tablespoons rice flour
750 g medium green king prawns, shelled and cleaned leaving tails intact
1/2 cup peanut oil

Lime and Chilli Dipping Sauce:
70 g brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small fresh red chilie, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
1/3 cup lime juice, plus wedges to serve

For dipping sauce, combine sugar and vinegar in a small frying pan and stir over a low heat until sugar dissolves. Cool, then add remaining sauce ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 Dry roast pepper and peppercorns in a small pan over low medium heat for 2 minutes or until fragrant, then cool. Grind roasted peppers, salt and rice flour until coarsely ground. Place prawns in bowl and sprinkle with pepper mixture to coat. Heat oil in wok and fry prawns in batches for 2 minutes or until cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve prawns immediately with dipping sauce and lime wedges to the side.

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