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."




Spicy Eggplant

P.F. Chang's China Bistro Copycat Recipe

Serves  4

1 lb. eggplant, peeled,
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
oil for deep-frying

Spicy Sauce:
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon chili paste
1/2 teaspoon ground bean sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Cut the eggplant into 1 inch cubes. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl to make a paste.  Set aside. Combine all the spicy sauce ingredients in another bowl and mix well. In a wok, add 1 tablespoon of oil and fry eggplant for 1 minute. Remove eggplant and drain on paper towels.

On high heat, stir fry garlic for 5 seconds then add the spicy sauce. Reduce the heat and let sauce simmer 20 seconds. Add the eggplant and simmer for another 10 seconds. Stir in the cornstarch paste a little at a time until you get the desired consistency.

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