By Lucila Flores of John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, California.
First Place: $5,000 Scholarship
- 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
- 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!