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."




Thai Chicken Satays

Pei Wei Recipe

Makes 6

1 lb chicken thigh, boneless, skinless
6 inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water
Thai satay marinade

Trim off any excess fat from the chicken thighs.  Cut thighs into strips 3 inches long by 1 inch wide and thread onto skewers through the center of the thigh.  Massage satay marinade into the chicken skewers and let marinate for at least 4 hours.  Reserve extra marinade.  Frill the satays over hot coats with no flame until halfway done, baste with satay marinade then turn over and finish grilling basting again on the other side.  Serve with peanut sauce and Thai cucumber relish.

Thai Satay Marinade:
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons chopped lemon grass
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon tumeric powder
1/4 teaspoon roasted chili
1/2 cup coconut milk
1  12/ tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce

Peanut Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinagar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon chipotle tabasco

Whisk all ingredients until well incorporated.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Will last for 3 days.

Thai Sweet Cucumber Relish:
4 tablespoons white vinegar
5 ounces sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 Thai red chile, minced
1 medium cucumber
1 tablespoon toasted chopped peanuts

Mix together first 5 ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.  Peel and slice the cucumber into thin rounds and add to the vinegar mixture to coat.  Let the relish sit for 30 minutes at room temperature to let the flavors meld.  Add peanuts.

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