In this special weekly feature, “Today” food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America. See how much money you can save — and fun you can have — by cooking these dishes at home!
THIS WEEK: Ma Po Tofu, from P.F. Chang’s China Bistro in Dallas, Texas
The use of tofu in cooking has become more and more popular in recent years, not just for vegetarians but also for a population that is becoming more health-conscious.
A high-protein, low-fat food made from soybeans, tofu has long been used in Far Eastern cooking and is a favorite on the menu at P.F. Chang’s Chinese Bistro, a rapidly expanding chain of restaurants with headquarters in Arizona. That’s where we get this week’s “stolen” recipe, Ma Po Tofu, a dish of crispy silken tofu in a spicy vegetarian sauce. It is served with steamed broccoli.
About the chef:
John Hrinkevich joined P.F. Chang’s China Bistro in 1997 as executive chef of the North Park branch in Dallas, Texas. In 2001, Hrinkevich was promoted to market chef and is responsible for the culinary operations, training, development and quality control of 19 restaurants in Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas and Louisiana.
“You can always count on two things at P.F. Chang’s,” says Hrinkevich. “Every dish is made to order using the freshest, highest quality ingredients, and we are all about wok cooking.
“Wok cooking is unlike any other style of cooking,” he adds. “We build the flavor of each dish using aromatics and spices which the Chinese call bao syang or ‘exploding into fragrance.’ The sauce ingredients are added and then the vegetables and proteins. This is all done under very high heat and very quickly, giving the finished dish the ‘breath of the wok’ or ‘wok hey.’ ”
Hrinkevich makes his home in South Lake, Texas, with his wife and two daughters.
(PLEASE NOTE: Ingredient prices are estimates and based on national averages. Amounts listed are for one portion. Increase proportionately according to number of portions desired.)
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P.F. Chang's China Bistro
225 North Park Center
Dallas, TX 75225
Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a "Steal This Recipe" feature? Just e-mail Phil at Phil.Lempert@nbc.com (or use the mail box below) with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.