José Andrés

The prolific chef shares some grains of wisdom

Catching up with peripatetic José Andrés is like catching a whirlwind. The 41-year-old chef is the subject of a cover story in the current issue of Wine Spectator, and the man seems never to run out of energy.

Andrés learned his craft at Spain’s famed elBulli. He has since created unique restaurant concepts in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Las Vegas, but his most unusual venture, China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan, is a departure even for him.

The concept is Chinese/Mexican. Picture a noodle bar on one side, a tortilla bar on the other, turning out a diversity of foods such as street tacos and hand-pulled noodles. The operation is ably overseen by his chef de cuisine, elegant Beijing native Shirley Chung.

Chung provided this recipe, which is far less ambitious than it seems, and relatively easy to prepare.

China Poblano Vegetable Fried Rice

Serves 4

  • 5 cups steamed sushi rice (use any short-grain Japanese rice, such as Calrose, and a rice cooker, if possible)
  • 1 quart water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 20 grams each of the following, all finely chopped: carrot, jicama, zucchini, watermelon radish, cauliflower, asparagus, sweet onions, silken tofu, oyster mushroom and edamame
  • ½ ounce English peas
  • Dash of yellow chive
  • ¼ ounce Brussels sprouts
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 radish, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro, picked.
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Salt to taste

Cook the rice. Peel Brussels sprouts, dice the vegetables and tofu (Hint: There are 29 grams to an ounce). Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet, to 250 degrees. Quickly sauté the vegetables and tofu for one minute, and set aside. Use the leftover oil to stir-fry the minced ginger and garlic for 10 seconds, then add eggs and stir-fry until the eggs have cooked. Add the cooked rice, stirring until the grains loosen and turn golden, then add the oyster sauce, and light and dark soy sauces. Stir evenly. Add the cooked vegetables, diced tofu and yellow chives; quickly toss the mixture, salt to taste, and plate. Toss the radish and cilantro leaves with sesame oil, for a garnish. Note: This recipe is a guideline. Use any type of vegetables you enjoy, and as many or as few as you prefer.

Wine Pairing

Chef Andrés likes this dish with the Helfrich family’s ‘08 Noble Tier Gewürztraminer from Alsace, France. “The spicy flavors and flowery notes in this wine make it a perfect complement to the complexity and various flavors of the vegetables,” he says. A comparable Gewürtz, by Okanogan Estate & Vineyards, can be found at Khoury’s Fine Wine and Spirits for $16.

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