New Year, New Obsession

8 Jan

In a renewed effort to rid ourselves of recipe clippings and clutter, we have a new theme for the next few months.

PF Chang’s copycat recipes.

We’ve been hoarding mountains of clippings over the years. Such a charity case: there is no PF Chang’s anywhere near us.

So memories from Vegas and Palm Desert will have to suffice.

Once and for all, we’re going to knock off one of these clones weekly.

And oddly, we’re starting with a dish we’ve never tried, and no longer exists on the menu. Dali Chicken.

It features a savory garlic chili and cumin sauce. “Our spiciest chicken dish served with sliced potatoes and leeks. Tender slices of chicken breast wok-tossed with dried red chilies, potatoes and scallions in a signature spicy sauce.” But it’s the menu photo that really grabbed our attention. Those chili pods. The leeks.
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This is a superb winter dish. Warming and spicy. And we love that it isn’t sugar-laden. It comes together very quickly. Recipe forums have occasionally sported comments from former employees who divulged the “white sauce” component: chicken broth mixed with a bit of oyster sauce. Thanks for the tip!

This photo doesn’t do it justice (where are those chili pods and leeks, you ask. Green onions and rooster sauce. Still delish. This deserves a redo!)

pf changs dali chicken

DALI CHICKEN
PF CHANG’S COPYCAT

1 lb chicken breast, thinly sliced (We used 2 breasts)
1 yukon gold potato, thinly sliced Into half moons (photos show thin slices and 1/4 inch thick, so we haven’t decided which is better.
Leek or 4 scallions, sliced into one inch diagonals
6 to 8 dried chili pods
1 tsp ground, toasted cumin
4 tablespoons chicken stock (our potatoes thickened this up)
2 tablespoons Oyster sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tsp grated ginger and 3 cloves garlic
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons chili garlic paste (Sambal Oelek or Rooster) we used 1/4 tsp and it still has zing
2 tablespoons vegetable oil for stir frying
Black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Toss potato slices in oil and roast until browned on bottom.
Steam rice. Meanwhile, slice chicken and leeks. Mix stock, garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, Sherry, vinegar, soy sauce and chili garlic paste in a bowl and combine. Set aside.
Heat a wok or saute pan and add oil. Add dried chilies. Cook until pods darken slightly. (While this dish highlights a good spicy zing, if you live with spice wimps, you can omit. It’s not the same, but the flavours are still enjoyable.)
Add chicken and stir fry. Add cumin and continue to stir fry until chicken turns opaque.
Stir in sauce and let it bubble. Add potatoes and stir to fully coat with sauce.
Stir in the scallions or leeks. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

Another version of Red Hot Chili sauce:

1 3/4 pounds red jalapeño peppers, stems removed and halved lengthwise
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons garlic powder, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, plus more as needed
Water, as needed 

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the peppers, garlic, garlic powder, granulated sugar, salt, and brown sugar. Pulse until a coarse puree forms. Transfer to a glass jar, seal, and store at room temperature for 7 days, stirring daily.

After 1 week, pour the chili mixture into a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool, then puree in a food processor for 2 to 3 minutes, until a smooth, uniform paste forms. If the mixture is too thick to blend properly, feel free to adjust the consistency with a small amount of water.

Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Press on the solids with the back of a spoon to squeeze out every last bit of goodness you’ve been waiting a week to get. Adjust the seasoning and consistency of the final sauce, adding additional vinegar, water, salt, granulated sugar, or garlic powder to suit your taste. Transfer to a glass jar, seal, and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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