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Jun 14, 2009 08:06 PM

Jalapenos in my Chinese food...

First of all, Ok I get it, orange beef is not "real" Chinese, it's "american" chinese.
But..I ordered Orange Beef, which had the usual broccoli and orange peels, and what I thought was green bell pepper. I thought.."different, but seems Ok, makes sense,".
As I was eating it. i realized the rounds of pepper were way too small to be bell pepper, and the seed pattern seemed distinctly jalapeno. And it tasted good..and added a bit more heat to a decently spicy dish. Very interesting..but a very weird/unusual addition to me.
Mexican/chinese/american fusion ?
Now, I live in Western NY, where there a lot of undocumented workers (if you get my drift) this time of year. Was this a "shout out " to or an insipration from local migrant visitors ?
Or are there some mexican workers who have been hired by the local chinese cookery and have slipped in their own flavor ?
Anyone ever heard of jalapenos in Chinese cooking ?

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  1. Red chilis and chili flakes, yes. Jalapenos- I've never seen in Chinese food- do you suppose it was a substitution- ie couldn't get red chilis?

    1. Broccoli isn't particularly Chinese either. Chinese cooks just adapt to local ingredients to cook food that is similar to what they know.

      1. In Texas I use jalapenos in Pakistani cooking, and in Vietnamese places pho is served with jalapeno slices on the side as one of the garnishes. Also, some of the dim sum places I frequent have jalapenos incorporated into their dim sum like salt and pepper shrimp with finely chopped garlic and jalapenos, jalapenos stuffed with minced shrimp (that is one of my fave dim sum choices!), and so forth. Basically the jalapeno is cheap and widely available in TX so I have seen it used by Chinese, Vietnamese, and anyone else who likes some heat. It does have its own special jalapeno flavor, but I don't think that distorts the taste of any of the cuisines into which it is incorporated. It is just an adaptation of locally available chiles.

        1. Yes. There is a famous Taiwanese appetizer which consists of shredded red and green chili peppers with tiny sardines in oil.

          1. Many of the Northern Chinese restaurants in the Washington DC area use fresh jalapenos in their dishes. One of my favorites is salt and pepper squid with garlic and jalapenos at Joe's Noodle House in Rockville, MD which is slap-your-mammy deeelicious. I don't believe the cooking is any less authentic for the use of locally available ingredients, whether its jalapenos or wall-eye pike or whatever.

            1 Reply
            1. re: flavrmeistr

              One of my favorites is salt and pepper squid ....

              Here in the Northern New Jersey/New York greater area this is a common addition to Salt & Pepper Squid, or any other type of deep fried or spicy dish. The Jalapeno or Long Hots are sliced thin, then deep/shallow fried with thin sliced garlic(chips) also in the dish.