I love Michigan. Not only is it home to Zingerman’s — my all-time favourite deli, restaurant and bakery ( www.zingermans.com ) — but it is also home to many fabulous outlet malls, unique shops, and of course, restaurants.
With only 24 hours to shop, we were on a mission. The bulk of the trip was focused on shopping, not eating, which is unusual for me, as I would definitely classify myself as a “foodie” who when vacationing, plans her daily itinerary around meals not malls.
That being said, my companion and I definitely wanted to treat ourselves to a nice meal and a glass of wine after a long and tiring day of shopping. Yeah, it’s a rough life.
We narrowed our list down to two possible restaurants: The Melting Pot, a fondue franchise and PF Chang’s China Bistro, a Chinese-fusion chain. We decided upon PF Chang’s — we had both been there before and enjoyed the ambiance and yummy food. Also, it didn’t hurt that the restaurant was located in the Somerset Collection shopping mall, our last stop of the day.
We shared Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps to start. In my humble opinion, a visit to PJ Chang’s is not complete without sampling this dish — it’s their signature appetizer of stir-fried ground chicken, mushrooms and water chestnuts, spooned into iceberg lettuce cups, topped with a spicy sauce and eaten burrito-style.
Next, we shared a few vegetable side dishes — wok-seared mushrooms and spinach stir fried with garlic, as well as an entrée — salt & pepper prawns with chili peppers, ginger and green onions. We didn’t realize that the shrimp would be lightly breaded and fried (we were trying to order and eat healthy) but truth be told, no one was complaining when we bit into the warm and crispy tem-pura-style shrimp.
tempura-style shrimp & vegetables
- 5-6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup ice water
- 1 cup cake flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- A variety of vegetables (such as broccoli, carrots, green beans),
cut into two-inch pieces, cleaned and dried
- 1 lb. raw shrimp (peeled and deveined), cleaned and dried
- salt and pepper, to taste
- light soy sauce or your favourite Asian-style dipping sauce
- In a medium bowl set over an ice bath, stir the egg yolk with a whisk. Add ice water and stir until combined. Sift flour and cornstarch into egg mixture and stir until just combined.
- Heat oil over medium heat (in a wok or large, deep sauté pan).
- The oil is hot and ready for deep frying once it reaches a temperature of 365 -375º F.
- Coat vegetables and shrimp in batter and let excess drip off.
- Deep fry in small batches until golden brown, turning often.
- Drain on a piece of paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with your favourite Asian-style dipping sauce or light soy sauce.