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."




Buddha's Feast

PF Chang's Restaurant Copycat Recipe

Makes 2 servings

1 (12 oz.) package extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice seasoning
1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 large bunch of asparagus, tough ends removed
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 (3 oz.) package shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
oil, for stir fry
2-4 tablespoons soy sauce, for stir fry  to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger paste (or sub ginger powder)
2 cups cooked brown rice

For tofu: Drain tofu and lay on a paper towel lined plate, cover with a few paper towels and add a heavy object, like a large can, on top to weigh it down and push out the extra moisture. Leave this for 20 minutes.  Once the tofu is pressed and blotted dry, cube it up and place in a bowl.

Add your marinade ingredients: 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Mix to coat the tofu, cover, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to marinate.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread tofu out on a lined or greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle additional 1/2 teaspoon five spice powder on top. Bake for 10 minutes then stir, then bake for another 10 minutes.

For the stir fry:  heat oil over medium high in a large wok or skillet. Add all the veggies, tossing and mixing to cook for a few minutes, adding more oil is necessary. Add the garlic, ginger, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Cook for an additional minute or two. Add more soy sauce if you would like. Add tofu, toss, then pour into a serving bowl.  Serve with a bowl of brown rice.

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