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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Shrimp with Candied Walnuts



SHRIMP with CANDIED WALNUTS
P.F. Chang's Copycat Recipe

Serves 4

Walnuts:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup walnuts

Sauce:
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon mayonnaise, slightly heaping
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 dash celery salt

Shrimp:
1 lb shrimp, deveined and shelled
2 egg whites
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup oil, for frying

Finishing Touches:
1 cup honey dew melon ball (or cantaloupe if you prefer)

For the walnuts: Prepare a piece of parchment paper or lightly grease a baking sheet. Set aside. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the walnuts, stirring constantly. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until thickened. Place the walnuts on the parchment paper or baking sheet. Separating them carefully. Allow them to cool fully. An alternative to this is to simply toss the walnuts in a skillet with some white sugar and heat over medium-high heat, tossing constantly until the sugar is melted and caramelized.

For the sauce: Whisk this together over a low heat until warm. You want a very pale yellow color, if the color is too pale, add a dash more tumeric. Remove from heat.

For the shrimp: Clean and dry shrimp well. Whisk egg whites lightly in a bowl, add the shrimp and coat well. Combine the flour and cornstarch. Dredge the shrimp. Fry shrimp in hot oil, 3-5 minutes until the breading is golden and the shrimp are pink. Fry only a couple shrimp at a time, transferring to a paper towel to drain. Continue until all the shrimp are cooked. Toss the shrimp and honey dew and/or cantaloupe melon balls in the warm sauce. Top with candied walnuts. Serve over rice.

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