Archives for the month of: November, 2011


This is Jesse’s chili competition recipe that won over many chefs at the Shanghai 2011 Chili Cook-Off. There are two different types of chilies. One is the competition type and the other is the homestyle. The competition type doesn’t have any fresh ingredients other than the beef itself. And no beans. The reason why they do this is because there could be fluctuation with the taste of onions, the sweetness of the tomatoes and etc. So the competition chili is directly made from dry ingredients to keep it as consistent as possible. Jesse has scaled down his recipe for you to make it at home. What are dumps you ask? Dumps are chili powder mixture going in at different times within the cooking cycle. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes. Enjoy!

4 pounds ground tri-tip
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups tomato paste

Dump 1:
3 dried pablanos
2 dried chipotles
2 tablespoons mild chili powder
2 tablespoons medium spicy chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika

Dump 2:
2 tablespoons cumin powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons white vinegar

Cut the tri-tip into 3/8″ cubes.

In a spice grinder, grind the pablanos and chipotle peppers to fine powders.

In a medium stock pot, heat the canola oil on medium-high heat. Pour dump one in and stir around to open up the flavors of the dry ingredients. Throw in the cubed beef, brown then deglaze with the beef stock.

Turn the heat down low, add the tomato paste and simmer the chili for 2 hours.

Add dump two. Cover and simmer for two hours. Reduce the chili if you like a thicker consistency. Total of 4 hours cooking time.

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Do you crave boneless, chunky chicken pieces with savory, sweet and sour glaze like Chinese restaurants serve in the states? Tired of ordering Chinese chicken with bones, skin on and tiny bite portions? We came up with this recipe as we couldn’t find anything like it in Shanghai. Large boneless and skinless chicken breasts are available from Pine’s or Jiashan Market on Jianguo lu. Enjoy!

2 large chicken breasts
4 red chilis, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 scallion, finely minced
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons rice wine
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons chili sauce
1 teaspoon toasted black sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch, plus 1 cup for dredging
Peanut oil for frying
Kosher salt

Cut the chicken breasts in large chunks. Marinade with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine, 2 egg whites and a pinch of kosher salt for 15 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl, mix together rest of the 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine, 2 teaspoons tomato paste, rice vinegar, chili sauce, sesame oil, sugar, water and 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Set aside.

Dust chicken pieces in cornstarch, shake off excess. In batches, deep fry the chicken in peanut oil until lightly golden brown and just cooked through. You don’t want to overcook chicken breasts. Take the chicken pieces out and drain on paper towel.

In a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil on high heat, throw in the garlic, scallions and chili peppers (you want to hear the sizzle) and saute until fragrant. Stir the sauce to incorporate the cornstarch and liquid together. Pour the sauce into the pan and turn the heat down to medium-high. Cook and stir constantly until the sauce forms a glaze, about 2 minutes.

Throw in the chicken pieces, toss vigorously to coat with the sauce. Serve immediately.


We made a fun variation to my childhood favorite 凉面, cold noodles with sesame peanut sauce, substituting the noodles with cucumber. The toasted sesame paste is not tahini sauce. You can get sesame paste at any Chinese grocery store. We recommend Taiwanese brands. Happy cooking!

3 cucumbers, shredded lengthwise
1/2 cup toasted sesame paste
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon good toasted black sesame oil
3 teaspoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water
Toasted black sesame seeds

Shred cucumbers lengthwise resembling the shape of noodles.  Wrap in paper towel and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a mixing bowl, stir the sesame paste and peanut butter with 1/4 cup warm water until incorporated and smooth. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, sugar and vinegar.

Place sesame peanut sauce on a plate, top with shredded cucumber and sprinkle sesame seeds. Mix and enjoy!

Note: If you like it spicy, drizzle  with hot oil.


This recipe was given to me from a house cook one summer in Simla, India about 10 years ago. I’ve made the same recipe for years and it’s so super delicious and nostalgic. This time, we didn’t use a food processor so the sauce came out a bit chunky; nonetheless it was still very good. If you can’t get ghee, substitute with any vegetable oil is fine. We don’t cook the chicken in the sauce too long as the meat will toughen up. If you follow the recipe, you will get a very tender and satisfying butter chicken masala!  Go here to grab your Indian spices, Bhoomi Store @ 266 Yaohong lu near by Honsong lu. 姚虹路266号近虹淞路。

2 boneless chicken breast
4 boneless chicken thigh or leg
2 tablespoons ghee, or clarified butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-5 red chilies, finely chopped (depending on how spicy you want)
1 piece ginger, 2″
5 cloves
1 cinnamon stick, 1″
2 large onions, chopped
5 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cardamon
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon red chili powder
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup cream
Salt

Cut the chicken in large chunks then marinade in the yogurt, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon each of the garlic and ginger (minced), and a pinch of salt for 2 hours.

In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon ghee on medium-high heat with 5 cloves, 1″ cinnamon stick, garlic, chilies and ginger piece until fragrant. Now add in the chopped onions and saute until translucent. Turn the heat down to low, add in tomatoes, garam masala, cardamon and red chili powder. Cover and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

If you had a food processor, this is when you want to blend the sauce until smooth. Before blending, take out the cinnamon stick and ginger, blend the rest of the spices together. Return the sauce to the pan, add the cream and continue to simmer. (If you don’t have a blender, just remove the cinnamon stick, ginger piece and cloves.)

In a separate pan, heat 1 tablespoon ghee and brown the chicken pieces on all sides until just cooked through. Season with salt while cooking. Add chicken pieces to the sauce, stir and serve immediately with basmati rice!


The pork loin is one of my favorite things to make and a total hit every time. You have to let the pork rest out of the oven as it allows the meat to finish cooking and juices to distribute evenly within the meat. It will be perfectly cooked, tender and moist! We have so many variations to this so look for more recipes to come!  ^.^~

1 bone-in pork loin (5 bones, 2.5 pounds)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried summer savory
5 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
2 shallots, finely minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup good Merlot
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400° F / 200° C.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over pork loin. Season with minced garlic, summer savory, half of the thyme leaves, salt & freshly ground black pepper. Use your hands to pack the spices onto the pork loin.

Place the pork loin, bone side down on a roasting pan. Roast in the oven until internal temperature reaches 140° F / 60° C, about 35 minutes. Transfer the roasted pork-loin to a large plate, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for about 15 minutes. This allows the meat to finish cooking and juices to distribute evenly within the meat.

While the pork loin is resting. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in the roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot, rest of the thyme and saute for a minute. Scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom of the roasting pan (where all the flavor is). Add 2 tablespoons flour and stir until it is incorporated with the oil and butter, about 2 minutes.

Slowly pour in 1 cup of Merlot. Whisk the sauce until smooth and thickened. Add the meat juice from the plate where the pork loin has been resting. Turn heat down and simmer for about 5 minutes to cook out the raw flour flavor. Season with salt & lots of freshly ground black pepper.

Remove bone from the pork loin. Slice the pork, arrange on a plate and serve with warm black peppercorn sauce. For sides, we made sauteed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes.

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