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."
TEMPLE LONG BEANS
PF Chang's Copycat Recipe
4 cups (6-8 oz.) Chinese long beans, cut into 3 inch lengths
4 ounces five spice pressed tofu, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup finely julienned carrot
1 cup Chinese yellow chives, cut into 3-inch lengths
1/4 cup vegetarian oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup hot water
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
several drops Japanese sesame oil (optional)
steamed rice (to serve)
Separately blanch the long beans and carrots until tender crisp in plain boiling water. Drain and rush under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again.
Combine the Temple Sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust the soy sauce and sugar to your liking.
Heat a wok or wide skillet over high heat until hot. Add the canola oil, swirl to glaze the pan. Then add the long beans, carrots and tofu. Stir-fry until hot, about 2 minutes.
Stir the sauce and add it to the pan. Bring it to a simmer, tossing to bathe the veggies. Stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine and add it to the pan. Stir until the sauce turns glossy, about 10 seconds. Shower in the chives, stir to blend, then turn off the heat. Add the sesame oil and toss to mix. Serve with steamed rice.
Notes: Pressed five spice tofu, vacuum packed and with the consistency of a firm cheese, is sold in the refrigerator cases of many Asian groceries. If you cannot find it or the fragrant Chinese yellow chives, simply double the amount of long beans. String beans can also be substituted for the long beans.