Steve's China Blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Chili recipe

Some of my friends who came over to the Super Bowl party wanted my recipe for chili, so here is how I make it here in China...

Ingredients -

1 jin* lean ground beef
1 medium yellow or white onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
15 oz. tomato sauce
1 can (14 oz.) red kidney beans
1 teaspoon oregano
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons salt
1 heaping tablespoon black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons pure chili powder (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (optional - depending on how really really spicy you want it)
1 to 2 tablespoons Sichuan hot chili sauce (optional - depending on how little you need your mouth and stomach)
Beer (not dark beer... used as thinner when needed)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)

* 1 jin = 0.5kg or 1.1 lbs.

In Dalian I can usually find most of the ingredients at Metro, and the rest I can sometimes find at MyKal.

Directions -

1) Prepare all of the ingredients that need shredded, minced, chopped, or finely chopped and set them aside.

2) In a big pan cook the ground beef until almost browned. Drain excess grease, but save a little in the pan for the onion and green pepper. Add chopped onion and green pepper to beef in pan until beef is browned and the onions and green peppers are soft.

3) Add tomato sauce, oregano, cumin, salt, black pepper, chili powder, and jalapenos (optional). Simmer for 1 to 4 hours. The cooker I use does not have a low setting to simmer, so I usually have to stir it a lot and turn the heat off and on during this time. If it starts to get a little too thick or too hot you can add a few ounces of beer every once in awhile.

4) Add garlic, Sichuan chili sauce (optional), and kidney beans. Simmer for 30 to 60 minutes. If it starts to get a little too thick or too hot you can add a little beer every once in awhile.

Thickness is a matter of taste. Some like it thin like a soup and some like it so thick that your spoon can stand up in it on its own. I usually prefer a medium thickness and tend to make it thicker when the weather is warm and thinner in the winter. Of course, that might be because I drink the beer more when I'm making it in the summer, so there is less thinner then. ;)

Note: If it burns a little while cooking that is ok. Be sure to scrape the burnt bits off the pan before emptying it and stir them into the chili mix until they dissolve. There's a lot of good flavor locked in those burnt bits.

Variations -

You can use ground pork instead of, or along with, ground beef. Ground pork will generally produce more grease while browning, so you will have more to drain.

You can use red salsa instead of tomato sauce.

You can use Montery Jack cheese instead of Cheddar.

Sometimes you can find Chipolte pepper sauce here and can use that instead of the Sichuan chili sauce if you want a more Tex-Mex authentic tasting hotter than hell chili. If you're feeling suicidal you can use them all!

Serving options -

Pour in a big bowl and serve as is.

Crush up some crackers and put them in it if it seems too thin (or too spicy).

Serve on rice or pasta. You may or may not want to cook it with beans if you serve it this way.

Serve with some cheddar cheese and/or chopped onion on top.

Serve with a side of corn bread. The corn bread here in China is a little sweet, but I still like to put honey on it for a dessert.



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