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
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
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.
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.