P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

My version of P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

Yesterday was day two in my weekly menu planning and Bryan’s last day of classes for his first semester as a 1L, so I decided to celebrate I would try to tackled one of our favorite P.F. Chang’s recipes – Beef a La Sichuan.  Ever since this was put on the gluten-free menu at P.F. Chang’s it is all Bryan will order.  I usually order the Chang’s Spicy Chicken (it’s amazing if you haven’t had it yet, you should).  Sadly though we don’t have a P.F. Chang’s close to us so I’ve been searching online for “copycat” recipes for this dish.  I really only found one, but found plenty of pictures of the dish which didn’t help me at all.  The recipe I found was pretty good, however it didn’t have any measurements for the ingredients! Seeing as we hadn’t had this in a while I had to think back to what it tasted like and try to build a sauce based on memory-honestly I got it on the first shot…not sure if I should be proud of that or kind of embarrassed.  If you don’t know Chinese food is my biggest weakness and seeing as I can’t go to any restaurant and get something I do my best to create recipes inspired by my favorite Chinese/Asian dishes.

I found the recipe on RecipeLink.com and like I said it had no measurements so below is my measurements along with RecipeLink.com’s directions.  Now this recipe is a little in-depth with the preparation so be prepared to spend a bit of time in the kitchen the first time-but I promise it is worth it.  I’m sure you can always find some shortcuts, like finding celery and carrots that are already julienned for you but I wanted to do it start to finished myself.   The original recipe called for green onion stems but seeing as we don’t cook/consume onions in our house we just omitted them but you can add them in if you wish.

P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

Stir Fry Ingredients:

1 Pound Flank or Sirloin Steak Sliced thin
3-4 Medium Celery Stalks -Julienned
2 Medium Carrots – Julienned
Green Onion Stems (Optional)
1/2 Cup Peanut Oil or Canola Oil (you may use less if using a non-stick pan, I only use about 1/4 cup)
1/4 Cup Corn Starch
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes(or whole Tien Tsin Chinese Chili Peppers work great)

1 1/2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil

Sauce Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Gluten Free Soy Sauce (I use San-J)
2 Tablespoons Gluten Free Hoisin Sauce (I use Dynasty)
1 Tablespoon Garlic Chili Paste
1/2 Teaspoon Chinese Hot Mustard
1 Teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Chili oil/or Mongolian Fire Oil (made by House of Tsang) -(Optional)
1 – 2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Minced garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Minced Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Julienne your carrots and celery and set aside. It is important to get these done first because when it comes time to stir-fry them, it is a very quick process.

An important step is “velveting your beef” – 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.

Rinse beef free from all cornstarch and pat dry – you do not want any moisture or the oil will splatter when you add the beef to the pan.

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 (or Tein Tsin Chinese Chili Peppers) 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.

Notes:

I sliced my beef a little bigger than P.F. Chang’s does but not by much and didn’t fry it as much as they do.  Some times the beef can become a bit tough when it is fried too long so I left mine a little tender but still had a slight crunch to it.

The veggies were perfect – like the directions above say DO NOT OVER COOK them – they are supposed to be nice and crunchy.  This process goes very quickly.

I drained off most of the remaining oil from frying the beef before adding the Sesame oil and veggies.  I didn’t wan it to be too oily.

The recipe called for Chili Oil but I couldn’t find it anywhere around me (my grocery stores aren’t so good with stocking “international” cuisine products) so I left it out and didn’t miss it at all.

The sauce was created from memory so if you have had it more recently and attempt to make it at home please adjust the measurements to your liking.

I cooked this in a wok but you can use a large sauté pan.

We had not leftovers!! Like I said this is Bryan’s favorite dish.

Who says you have to go our to have great Chinese food when  you can easily make it at home!  It may take a little longer to make it but it is so worth it and helps save you a little money too.

Chili – GF/OF

First off, I am very sorry for taking a picture with my cell phone.  I completely forgot to take a photo last night so when we had some for lunch today, I had to take a quick pic.  Guess I was a bit hungry and excited last night.

I have never made chili – well that isn’t 100% true, I did help my friend at one point make it but I’ve never made it myself so I did some looking around online for recipes.  There are countless chili recipes and so many delicious sounding ones.  However, all of the recipes called for onions and Bryan can’t eat those, so I was determined to make a flavorful chili minus the onions and gluten of course.  While shopping, I noticed that a few brands of chili powder contained gluten in them – thankfully the store brand didn’t and it was way less money! I found a few that sounded great, read them over and kind of picked different ingredients from each recipe and came up with my own.  Keeping my fingers crossed that it would taste okay, seeing as Bryan was having some classmates over to study for their midterm.  Probably not the smartest idea to cook/bake something you have never done before when people are coming over, but I did it anyway and it came out great!!

We really enjoy spicy food in our house, so I tried to make sure I had enough spice in the chili but not over powering.  The following recipe has a great kick to it so if you aren’t into spicy food, just adjust the seasoning to your taste level, maybe by cutting the measurements in half at first and go from there.  you could also add some extra tomatoes to help cool it off a bit.  Also a great topping to help with the heat – sour cream!  Bryan thought I was crazy when I picked it up at the store but after he tried it, he really liked it.

Chili – Gluten Free and Onion Free

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4-6 celery stocks (cleaned and chopped)

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 large green (or red) bell pepper, chopped

1 can of tomato paste

3 tablespoons chili powder (if you like less spice, use 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons chopped chipolte chilis in adobo sauce

1 tablespoon of the adobe sauce from the chilis (this is in addition to the 2 tablespoons of the chopped chili’s)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2  teaspoon cinnamon

2 pounds of ground beef

1 28oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1 bay leaf

2 cans 14.5 oz kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup water

Salt and ground pepper

In a 5-quart heavy pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, celery and peppers. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the celery and peppers have softened – about 3 minutes.

Add tomato paste, chili powder, chipotle chili’s, adobo sauce, cumin and cinnamon to the garlic, celery and peppers.  Cook until everything is well combined and starts to brown, about 2-3 minutes.  Add ground beef, and brown, breaking it down into chunks and no longer pink.

Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, bay leaf, kidney beans and water.  Simmer for 45 minutes to one hour – taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly.

We served this with Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten Free Corn Bread (topped with butter and honey, yummmm)

Top with:

Shredded cheese, sour cream, avocados, jalapenos etc.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

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I’m going to give P.F Chang’s a run for their money with this chicken. (ok maybe only in my mind). I love P.F.’s Spicy Chicken but this one I made tonight has got a good kick of heat to it.

Last week at the Farmer’s market I found some Thai Chili’s and have been trying to think of ideas of what to make with them. I plan to make some pad thai with tofu later this week. I wanted to create something by playing with the spice and contrasting it with sweet. And out came my Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Sweet and Spicy Chicken (*Edited on 1/13/10)

2 chicken breast – boneless, skinless

1/4 cup corn starch

4 tablespoon veggie oil

Salt and Pepper *

Sauce:

1/2 cup honey (You can also use Agave instead of honey, or half honey and half agave)

3-4 Thai Chili peppers finely chopped (keep seeds in for even more heat…adjust the amount of peppers depending on your spice level) *Dried or fresh chili peppers work well in this recipe

2 Tablespoons of Water

2 Tablespoons of Olive or Canola Oil.

Mix honey, Thai chili peppers, and water. Set aside.  Right before adding to the pan heat in the microwave for 30 seconds and mix well. This helps it “loosen” up a bit and makes it easier to pour into the pan or wok

Cut up chicken in bit size pieces. In a medium bowl add the corn starch, salt, pepper  and chicken. Coat well and shake off any excess corn starch. In a large skillet or wok heat 1 tablespoons of oil, add half the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Place chicken on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with second half of chicken and additional tablespoon of oil.

In the same skillet add the honey – chili mixture and bring to a boil for two-four minutes until the sauce reduces, thickens slightly and turns a nice caramel color. Add chicken back to the pan and coat well. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Serve over white or brown rice. Its a bit sweet with a nice spicy finish.

For a vegan option, used firm tofu that has been drained and 1/2 cup of agave nectar in placement of chicken and honey.

We love this recipe.