The Jimmy Chou Recipe

Jimmy Chou is a Chinese chef who worked for my grandparents on and off starting in the seventies.  He threatened to quit periodically, and then finally retired for good (probably) last year.
One day while he was cooking I asked Jimmy to teach me to cook.  He gave me this recipe, which I've since done my best to get tired of, with no success.

Buy 1 pound chicken, pork, or beef.  Chicken breasts are easier than thighs.  Pork chops are great.  Throw the meat in the freezer for 10-20 minutes to make it easier to slice.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the holy trinity of Jimmy Choo cooking: garlic, ginger, and green onion (spring onion).  Per pound of meat, I use 2-4 cloves garlic, a good cubic inch of ginger, and a bunch of spring onion.  Use just the white parts of the spring onions, saving the green tops for garnish.  For the garlic and ginger, a fine matchstick julienne is ideal.
Slice the meat as thinly as possible with a sharp knife.  This takes some practice.  One sixteenth to one eighth inch is good.  This helps the meat cook properly in the wok.  Consistency is more important than thinness.  Slice against the grain of the meat.
Marinade the meat in 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1-2 T sugar, plenty of black pepper, and 1 T peanut oil.  I substitute maple syrup for sugar sometimes, especially with pork; brown sugar works too.  The sugar isn't entirely essential but it adds a glaze.  You can use any old soy sauce, but Jimmy insists upon the Wan Ja Sha brand, which is available in most Asian supermarkets.  Marinade at least 20 minutes, preferably a couple hours minimum, longer for beef.
Prepare your wok for frying by heating it on medium-high with a few T of peanut oil and a little garlic, ginger, and spring onion.  Cook a minute or so--"just until they start to smell", as Jimmy says.  Fry the meat in batches: Pick up a quarter or a fifth of a pound of meat, allow some marinade to drip off, and drop into the wok.  Let brown a minute or two before stir-frying each batch.  If you sliced thinly, a batch should take no more than a couple minutes to cook.  Add more oil between batches if needed.  Don't cook with very much marinate or the meat won't brown properly.  Don't over-cook--remember that meat continues to cook slightly while sitting.
Stir-fried, steamed, or par-boiled vegetables are often served with this.  Bok choi works well.  Immediately before serving, the meat and the vegetable are combined in the wok to re-heat.  The meat-veggie mixture is often served over rice.

This recipe is a religion and a way of life.  One week, I made variations of this for dinner every night by varying the protein and the vegetable.  Scale up to feed an army.  Go gourmet or go freegan.  Make it vegetarian by substituting tempeh.  Either way, slice thinly and use good soy sauce.

1 comment:

Team Lewis said...

Genius, thanks for the recipe cuz. I don't think Andrea's ever experienced the goodness of Jimmy Chou food, so I'll have to attempt it sometime.