You know how it’s super easy to find a version of most chain restaurant recipes on the Pinteresting Blogosphere, but unless you live in a major MAJOR metropolitan area (New York, San Fran, L.A., Seattle, or Houston), you’re out of luck in regards to finding a clone or copycat of a local restaurant.
So what’s a girl to do in trying to create a restaurant clone at home? Turn to the Pinteresting Blogosphere for inspiration, of course.
A bit of backstory: (wavy lines of flashback) When I was in college (and the restaurant is still there, but, while we go over to Youree Drive at least weekly, we rarely eat there because we are in a rush), I used to eat at Imperial Cathay in Shreveport almost weekly. It was close to my university, and cheap (relatively so for a sit-down). In fact, when I ate out with one of my friends, it was usually El Chico or Imperial Cathay. When the History Club ate out, it was usually Imperial Cathay. When my mom and I shopped on Youree Drive, it was almost always Imperial Cathay at lunch.
And we would, without fail, order exactly the same thing. Even though I usually insist on trying something new each time I go to a place I’ve been to before. We would have the chicken chowder soup (I still haven’t found a recipe close to this, and I’ve been desperately trying), egg roll (actually more of a spring roll), and Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce. The Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce is julienned strips of pork and vegetables (water chestnuts, celery, bell pepper, carrot, and onion) in a slightly spicy (very slightly), garlicky, sweet sauce. Until now, it has eluded me.
And then, last weekend, I was amazed to find a Jalapeno Pork with Garlic Sauce from My Recipe Journey. The sauce appeared, with a few alterations, to be spot on. I left out the jalapenos and the pepper sauce when I made it, added in a flurry of crushed red pepper flakes, used two carrots, and julienned the onion rather than chopping it. I also left out the green onion.
Next time, I think I will make the sauce a bit sweeter, add in a few more red pepper flakes, and julienne everything (and add in a bit of bell pepper, julienned).
Muffin liked the meat, carrots, celery, and sauce, and he ate around the onion. I consider that to be a success! The recipe posting below reflects my alterations I plan to make.
My mom is very excited about this recipe, too. My mom, who hates garlic, loves this dish from Imperial. We have had that discussion, usually when she says something has too much garlic in it. I think what makes it okay with her is that the garlic is sauteed more than it is in, say, a spaghetti sauce.
Shredded Pork with Garlic Sauce (in the style of Imperial Cathay)
Adapted from (almost inspired by) My Recipe Journey
3/4-1 pound boneless pork loin, sliced into julienne strips (about 3 pork chops’ worth)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat large skillet over medium heat. Saute pork and garlic in oil until cooked. Remove from skillet and set aside.
4 large cloves garlic, minced (Yes, you will end up using over half a bulb of garlic!)
1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Mix above ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Make sure the sugar dissolves!
Vegetation (and the rest):
1 onion, julienned
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 celery rib, julienned
1/2-1 bell pepper, julienned
1/2 of a small (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, julienned (optional…This is authentic to Imperial Cathay, but Josh hates water chestnuts)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Heat large skillet over medium high heat with oil. Add vegetables. Cook, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes. Add pork and cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes. Add sauce to skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes. Make a slurry out of the cornstarch and water. Pour the slurry into the skillet and stir until the meat and veg are coated and the sauce has thickened. Serve over rice.
I may have started eating before I realized that I needed to snap a pic.
Seriously, though, if anyone has the recipe for Imperial Cathay’s Chicken Chowder soup available only at lunchtime, please share! You will make two generations of one family very happy if you do!