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Meatless Monday Chili Contest Winner: Kung Pao Chili


Winners of the 2013 C-CAP Meatless Monday Chili Recipe Contest were announced recently by Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), who provide scholarships, education, and career opportunities in the culinary arts to underserved youth and our friends Meatless Monday.

First place winner and the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship was Lucila Flores of John Marshall High School in Los Angeles for creating Kung Pao Chili. Lucila intends to pursue a career in culinary arts and will take part in the C-CAP LA Cooking Competition for Scholarships.

“When I began to work on the Meatless Monday project, I wanted to convert a traditional meat dish into a meatless dish. That way, everyone can enjoy the flavor. Cooking for other people is about sharing experiences and sharing memories. I am excited to continue to learn about new techniques and flavors. I will use what I learn to be creative in my work. Cooking fine foods for other people will be how I express myself and share myself with people,” said Lucila.

Thousands of C-CAP high school seniors became head chefs in their classrooms and were introduced to the Meatless Monday public health campaign encouraging everyone to start each week with a healthy meal. While working with their culinary arts teachers to concoct the original meatless chili entree, the teen chefs were encouraged to use the recipe contest to explore new fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.

The recipe submissions were judged on originality, flavor, healthfulness, ease of preparation, and writing ability. Here’s Lucila’s winning recipe:

Kung Pao Chili (Serves 6)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
8 ounces diced onion
8 ounces diced carrot
8 ounces diced zucchini
1 pound trimmed and diced mixed mushrooms
8 ounces diced bell pepper
2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice powder
2 tablespoons mirin
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons Chinese-style black bean garlic paste
2-4 tablespoons Vietnamese-style chili garlic paste
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
1 (5-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice with 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved into it

For garnish:

3 ounces coarsely chopped, roasted, salted peanuts
6 sliced green onions
6 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

In a large pot over medium flame, heat the vegetable and sesame oils. Add the minced garlic and fresh ginger to the oil. Stir until just fragrant, but do not let it burn.

Add the onion, carrot, zucchini, mushrooms and peppers to the pan. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the Chinese Five Spice Powder and continue to cook and stir for 3 minutes more, or until it has become fragrant.

Add the mirin, vinegar, hoisin, black bean and chili pastes to the pan. Stir in the drained beans and water chestnuts. Stir in the orange juice-cornstarch mixture. Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 7-10 minutes, or until the chili has thickened.

Garnish with peanuts, green onion and cilantro to preference and enjoy!


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One Response

  1. Congratulations! Great job – looks YUMMY!

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