Panda Management Company, Inc. (PMC), based in Southern California, has grown dynamically ever since 1983 when it opened its first Panda Express, its most successful operation. As that name suggests, Panda Express units are fast-service Chinese restaurants, now found in over 34 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Japan. Altogether, PMC manages over 300 Panda Express Restaurants, six Panda Inn Restaurants, eight Hibachi-San Restaurants, and seven Panda Panda locations. Panda Inns, the first of which opened in 1973, are all located in Southern California, as are the Panda Pandas, upscale, gourmet Chinese food restaurants. The Hibachi-San Restaurants, featuring Japanese cuisine, are located in shopping mall food courts, about half of which are at select sites outside California. The much more ubiquitous Panda Express Restaurants are located in five basic operating environments: mall food courts; supermarkets and retail chains; shopping centers and key intersections; university and college campuses; and airports, casinos, and sports arenas.
Indonesian Chicken Satays
INDONESIAN CHICKEN SATAYS
The Big Bowl Restaurant Recipe
2 pounds boneless chicken breast
32 (12 inch) bamboo skewers
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
3/4 cup tamarind paste
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup fine peanut oil
1/2 cup raw peanuts
2 fresh serrano or fresno chilies
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup rich unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Cut 1 ounce slices of meat in flat pieces (about 3 3/4 inches long) and thread onto a skewer (you will have about 32 satays).
In a small skillet, toast the spices until fragrant, then grind to a coarse powder in a spice grinder. Mix the spices with the garlic, brown sugar, fish sauce, tamarind paste and peanut oil. Arrange the skewers in a shallow pan or dish and pour the marinade over the meat, turning from time to time, for thirty minutes to an hour.
To make the dipping sauce, heat the peanut oil in a small pot until nearly smoking, turn off the heat and immediately add the peanuts. They should cook to a light golden color in three to five minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a food processor or blender, along with a tablespoon of the cooking oil, reserving the rest. Grind to a rough paste, then add the chilies, ginger and garlic, and continue to blend. Add the remaining ingredients, except the cilantro, and blend until smooth. Remove to a small mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro leaves along with half of the reserved oil or more. Transfer to appropriate dipping sauces.
Grill the satays about a minute on each side—do not overcook—and serve with the dipping sauce.
NOTE: To make the tamarind paste, in a small pot cook half an 8-ounce package of tamarind pulp with one cup of water until it softens. Pour the mixture into a strainer and rub te pulp through as best you can, leaving behind the seeds and the strings of the pod. The result will be a brown paste, 3/4 of a cup of which you will need for the marinade.
The Big Bowl Restaurant Recipe
Serves 12 vegetable satays—2 per person as part of a buffet or larger meal.
12 (12 inch) bamboo skewers
6 medium to large white mushrooms, cut into quarters
24 (2 inch) scallion whites
4 Red Fresno or 1 redbell pepper (depending on whether spicy or mild is desired) cut into diamond shape 1 1/2 inch pieces
6 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, quartered
6 small Shanghai bok choy stripped of leaves and cut down to a 2-inch heart and cut in 3
24 (2 inch) fresh asparagus tips*
Marinade and Dipping Sauce:
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1/4 cup sesame oil
Load each bamboo skewer as follows: 1 piece each mushroom, scallion white, pepper, shiitake, bok choy, 2 asparagus tips, shiitake, pepper, scallion white, white mushroom.
Mix together the marinade ingredients, and stir in the sesame oil. Brush the satays with this sauce, reserving the rest for a dipping sauce. Grill over a medium heat, turning once, until done (1 to 2 minutes each side). Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.
Note: It is helpful to blanch the bok choy and asparagus for 30 seconds. Then shock them with cold water to stop the cooking. This precooks them slightly, and also brightens their color and adds moisture.