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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Beef a la Sichuan


BEEF a la SICHUAN
PF Chang's Copycat Recipe

Stir Fry
1 pound flank or sirloin steak, sliced thin
3-4 medium celery stalks, julienne cut
2 medium carrots, julienne cut
green onion stems (optional)
1/2 cup peanut oil or canola oil
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

Sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon garlic chili paste
1/2 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chili oil
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Julienne your carrots and celery and set aside.  Thinly slice your beef and place in a bowl. Add the cornstarch and toss to make sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Set aside for 10 minutes.

In a skillet (or wok), fry the sliced meat in hot peanut (or canola) oil until crispy to your liking. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels.

In the same pan (or wok) add the following ingredients in this order with sesame oil: stir-fry celery, crushed red pepper flakes followed by carrots. Do not over cook these ingredients  (you want them to be nice and crispy). Add fried meat and green onions. Add sauce and bring to a fast boil, cook for 1 minute and serve immediately over white or brown rice.

This last step should take only 3-4 minutes – it is a very quick process so be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn't over cook.

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