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."
Sweet and Sour Chicken
SWEET and SOUR CHICKEN
P.F. Chang's China Bistro Copycat Recipe
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 teaspoons peanut oil
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pint small, sweet mixed peppers, quartered, or 2 mixed bell peppers, cut into 1-inch strips
6 scallions, whites cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, greens cut into 1-inch pieces and thinly sliced vertically into thin strips
8 ounces snow peas, trimmed
Serving suggestion, cooked brown rice
Chopped peanuts for sprinkling, optional
n a small bowl, whisk together the honey, chili-garlic sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, orange juice and cornstarch; set aside.
Meanwhile, coat the chicken with 2 teaspoons oil and heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken to taste with salt and pepper and cook, turning occasionally with a wooden spoon, 2 minutes. Transfer the partially-cooked chicken to a plate. Reserve the pan.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the pan; add the peppers, scallion whites, and snow peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the reserved chicken; whisk the sauce again and add it to the pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve over rice and sprinkle with the scallion greens and peanuts, if using.