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.

Weekly Menu Planning

I’m determined to get back into planning out a weekly menu and base our grocery shopping on that menu.  I hope that this will save us money but also the frustration of what to eat each night.  This week is a very Asian inspired week as you’ll see below.  I really miss my favorite little Chinese restaurant in Monterey, Full Moon.  They were so great to me, I would bring them a bottle of gluten-free soy sauce and they would make my food with that. We have both been craving Chinese food lately and Bryan could go out and get some but I can’t so I figured I would make a few Asian inspired recipes this week that will hopefully hit the spot.

When planning weekly menus I usually look at my cookbooks, blogs etc and search for dishes that are tasty, easy and that the ingredients can be used in more than one dish during the week.  This weeks menu inspiration comes from: Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking, Everyday Food-Fresh Flavor Fast and a few recipes I found online.

November 29-December 5

Monday

Grilled Steaks, mashed sweet potatoes and corn (these were our last steaks from Omaha Steaks -a gift from Bry’s parents)

Tuesday

P.F. Chang’s inspired Beef A La Sichuan (Bryan’s favorite dish to order there, even off of the gluten-free menu)

Wednesday

Asian Inspired Noodle Bowl (Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking pg. 30)

Thursday

Beef Stir Fry (Everyday Food Fresh Flavor Fast pg. 190)

Friday

Penne A La Broccoli (Light dish with red pepper flakes from DrWeil.com)

Saturday

General Chang’s Chicken (Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking pg. 163) I’ll be making this for my birthday dinner along with some cupcakes, or maybe even a cheesecake…I have yet to decided which one I really want.

Sunday

Not 100% sure what to make just yet for sunday, maybe some beef stew or pot roast.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of the Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking cookbook by Kelli and Peter Bronski you really should – this cookbook is fantastic.  I’ve made several of their recipes and have enjoyed every one of them.

What are you cooking this week?

General Tso’s Chicken (A bit lighter)

gf1494

General Tso’s Chicken

(adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine issue pg, page 34)

1/4 cup corn starch

1 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons ginger (freshly grated or jarred)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

2 large egg whites

salt and pepper

1 pound chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Brown Rice

~Cook rice according to package or rice cooker.

~In a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce and red pepper flakes; toss to combine and set aside.

~In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat.

~In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Lift half the chicken from the egg-white mixture (shaking off excess) and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, set aside (reserve skillet)

~Add snow pea mixture to the skillet. Cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with brown rice.