One of the student groups at the law school had a Chili Face-off last week, all proceeds going to charity. Faculty members square off for "Hottest Professor" and staff compete for "Staff Hottie." I was asked to participate, and the student who asked me complained that they didn't have much variety in chili last year.
For some odd reason, it just popped into my head, I said, "I'll make Kung Pao Chili!" Of course, this dish doesn't exist, and I've certainly never made it before! But having committed myself, I had to figure out how to do it.
I got a great Kung Pao Chicken recipe from Zoe's and Maya's Chinese tutor, and went hunting online for a Chicken Chili recipe. I combined the two, and substituted all the Mexican-style chili spices with Asian spices. I thought it turned out good, and most of the students seemed to like it. I had a GREAT time making it, experimenting with Chinese Five-Spice and chili paste and lots and lots of fresh ginger and garlic, and Thai chilis.
Of course, it was complete sacrilege for Texan chili aficionados (Chicken?! Is this chili from New York City?!).
But my question is whether the chili was an homage to Chinese cooking, or cultural co-option?!
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