Not only is coffee a global phenomenon; so is cooking with coffee. This recipe, which won the gold medal in the Sixth World Championship of Chinese Cuisine, held in Beijing in October 2008, is evidence.
1/2 onion, chopped
1 medium stalk celery, chopped
2 1/2 oz. coffee beans, medium grind
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. HP Sauce*
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup black vinegar**
juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
30 cloves (2-3 heads) garlic
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. HP Sauce
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 1/4 lb. rack of lamb, cut into individual chops
2 Tbsp. cooking oil
Combine onion, celery, coffee beans and 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. water in saucepan over high heat and reduce by at least half. Add HP and Worcestershire sauces, vinegar, lemon juice and sugar and bring to boil. Reduce slightly and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Blend garlic and 1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. water in blender until smooth and then filter to create garlic juice. Add 1 Tbsp. each of HP and Worcestershire sauces to garlic juice and mix well. Spread the resulting marinade evenly over the lamb chops. Over medium-high heat, pan-fry chops in oil until fragrant and half-cooked (no more than 3 minutes on each side). Place chops in oven for 5 minutes, then return to sauté pan with coffee sauce; sauté over medium-high heat until sauce thickens. Serves 4.
*HP Sauce is a steak sauce popular in English cooking; if it’s unavailable, substitute with A-1 or a similar steak sauce.
**Black vinegar is a staple of Chinese cooking and can usually be found in Asian groceries in the U.S., but if it’s unavailable, substitute with balsamic vinegar.
Chan Choo Kean, West Lake Garden Chinese Restaurant, Selangor, Malaysia