Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Lemon Scallops Code 

Recently, Adam and I set forth on a great mission, and that is, to recreate the wonderfulness that is PF Chang's Lemon Scallops. Everything I've tried there so far is pretty darned good, but nothing tops the Lemon Scallops. We searched the web and found nearly every other recipe on their menu (the Lettuce Wraps are apparently very popular, and it is definitely a good one). This site, in particular, has a bunch of them. But, the one thing we couldn't find was our precious Lemon Scallops. After much research, we worked up this recipe and declared it a success. Enjoy!

Faux PF Chang's Lemon Scallops
my precioussssssss

1 lb scallops
Sesame oil
Potato starch
1 egg

2 large lemons
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2 green onions
1 t chopped garlic
cold water

Preparing the scallops:

Note #1: PF Chang's uses kind of medium to small scallops, between a quarter and half dollar size. We used giant scallops and discovered that, at that size, you really have to tear them in half first so they don't brown before they're cooked inside.

Note #2: We couldn't find potato starch that day, so I dipped them in the egg, floured them in cornstarch, and pan fried them in heated olive oil until they were browned on both sides. (Important: Do not toss a scallop into the oil while distracted, leading to a splatter burn which causes you to jerk your hand back quickly, covering your black shirt in cornstarch. Not that I did that. Ahem.) However, you should be able to find potato starch at either a natural food store (because a it's gluten free starch substitute) or an Asian food market. It browns slower than cornstarch.

This is most likely the way they do it at PFC's, as researched on several Chinese food preparation sites...

Heat the sesame oil in a wok or pan to 180 degrees.
Dip the scallops in egg and roll in the potato starch until covered.
Drop into the oil and fry until slightly brown.
Drain and keep warm.

Preparing the sauce

Juice 1 and a half lemons, straining for seeds, into a saucepan. Cut the other half into quarters and slice one quarter into very thin slices and add to the juice. Stir in the water, sugar, and garlic, and turn on medium heat. Slice the green onions thinly for the white part and larger for the green part, and toss into the mix. Turn up the heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts boiling. Dissolve a tablespoon of cornstarch in 1/2 cup cold water and pour into the boiling sauce. Stirring, bring it back to a boil. If the sauce isn't thick enough for you, repeat the cornstarch and cold water, adding a little and allowing it to boil until it reaches the right consistency. Don't allow the mixture to sit without stirring, as it will burn. Once it's thickened, add in the scallops and stir until they're covered in the sauce. Remove it from the heat and serve.

It would also work to prepare the sauce first, then turn it all the way on low and keep that warm while you do the scallops, but if you haven't fried with oil much, you won't want to be worrying about the sauce already being done and possibly burning while you're wiping the starch off your black shirt, the burner, the floor, and several cabinets. Not that I did that.


Anyway, this serves 2-3 people. Also, at the restaurant, all meals are served with a large bowl of white or brown rice.

P.S. If you're looking for the recipe, think it's great, and want to add it to a copycat recipe site, please don't submit it yourself. Just send me the link and I'll be glad to pass it on to them. Thanks.


Mmm... Lemon Scallops.
I love the PF Chang Lemon Scallops also. I have tried several times to recreate it myself. I think you have it here....Thank you very much. I would like to metion one thing, that I think is important. You have the garlic in the sauce. If I recall correctly, the garlic was separate, possibly fried in the oil with the scallops. In will be trying this recipe in about a hour....Thanks Again
Thanks for the tip, Gary!
I purchased two pounds of jumbo scallops at Costco today, with my mouth watering at the thought of making myself some PF Chang lemon scallops. My son is in Iraq and my husband left the day after Christmas for Afghanistan; so I thought what better pick-me-up than my favorite PF Chang meal at home? After vigorously trolling the internet for nearly two hours and feeling mighty disappointed at not finding the recipe, I came across your sight; and I'm delighted that you've come up with a recipe that sounds pretty darn close. I can't wait to try it -- it will definitely be a great way for me to bring in the new year. All thing's considered, that is. Thanks much!! Lynda
We were staying in our home in Kauai for a month and also purchased scallops from our local Costco.We were delighted to find your recepie on line since we are lucky to have a Costco here let alone a PF Changs. Although we had most of the ingridents in our kitchen, we did not have sesame oil or potatao starch. We had to substitute with olive oil and flour (which we seasoned with salt an pepper.) I must say that they still turned out to be very good. Although they were not exactly the same, they were "damn close". Next time we will have everything we need ahead of time but "wow" can't believe they could be much better. Thanks for all your hard work.
Victoria and Mark Kauai/Las Vegas
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