Where’s the Ghee?

It’s Season 5 on Top Chef Masters and the much anticipated episode of Restaurant Wars did not disappoint. Any fan of the show will tell you this is the week worth watching. The chefs get separated into two teams; each team must create a concept for a restaurant and have it up and running in less than 24 hours. It is usually a recipe for disaster and therefore makes for entertaining television.

Spoiler alert! The winning dish came from Chef Sang Yoon, Strip Loin w/Broccoli Two Ways, Puffed Tendon, and Black Bean Ghee, a twist on Beef with Broccoli. The judges loved his dish and he took home the win.  After the judge’s reaction, I had to find out what this Black Bean Ghee was all about. I started my recipe search on the Bravo website and ended up at Chowhound.com where I found a whole thread devoted to Chef Sang’s ghee, along with some amusing commentary on one of the judges’ hair. Apparently I was not the only one interested in the Black Bean Ghee, several people had already posted questions about it.

Eventually the mystery was solved; the recipe was discovered. Most of the ingredients were pretty obscure, doubanjian, Lao Gan Ma spicy chili crisp and black vinegar among them.  I was fairly confident I wasn’t going to see these on the shelves of our local Stop & Shop. In fact, they probably don’t even carry ghee, which would be a major component to leave out.

Although I could have gotten these ingredients with minimal effort, would my little tasters appreciate the dish more with, or without, them? Without a doubt, they wouldn’t have noticed, or cared. So I decided on making my own twist on Beef w/Broccoli and leaving the Black Bean Ghee to Chef Sang.

I’m no Top Chef Master, my kids call me a cooker, but I think I had a winning dish this week.

Beef and Broccoli One-way


1 Head of Broccoli, cut into small florets

3 Tbsp Olive Oil

Coarse Sea Salt


1 lb. Ground beef (ground turkey or ground chicken)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp ginger, grated

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/3-cup rice wine vinegar

1/3-cup dark brown sugar

2 Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp soy sauce



For the broccoli:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the broccoli on the paper and coat well with the olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and roast in oven until crispy and caramelized, about 25-30 minutes, turning once. Remove from oven and set aside.


For the beef:

In a medium-mixing bowl, combine beef, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Do not overmix.


Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add meat mixture and cook until no longer pink. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix rice vinegar, brown sugar, and cornstarch.

When meat is cooked through, drain excess fat, then add the vinegar mixture to the skillet and cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, until the sugar has caramelized. Add the soy sauce and roasted broccoli, and cook for another minute or so.

IMG_6092 Serve over rice or noodles. With chopsticks if you don’t mind a mess (and a fork just in case).


And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (age 6): “How do you get good at these chopsticks?”

Liam (age 4): “I’ll only eat the broccoli”

Dylan (age 4): “More broccoli! I think I might eat all of this!”

Roasting the broccoli was obviously worth the extra effort… And for anyone interested in the Black Bean Ghee recipe see below. If you try it let me know how it goes!

Black Bean Ghee

2 ounces garlic, microplaned

2 ounces ginger, microplaned

1 ounce doubanjiang (Chinese bean sauce)

3 ounces Chinese sweet soy sauce

1 ounce black vinegar

1 pound ghee, melted

7 ounces black beans

5 ounces Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp




10 thoughts on “Where’s the Ghee?

  1. I have to check out that episode, even now knowing the results. Can’t believe the judges would have liked chef sang’s dish more than dylan liked yours!

  2. You can buy ghee at any Indian food market. Bill also has made it, very easy. If you want he’ll mail you instructions. Ghee lasts much longer than butter and has a richer flavor I think.
    Broccoli, cauliflower and most other veggies benefit from roasting I think. It brings out a sweetness and depth of flavor and doesn’t kill the vitamins. Of course it doesn’t hurt to season the veggies and put a little olive oil on them before roasting.
    Way to go, the kids ate broccoli! You are a great cooker!

    Love, Judy and Bill

  3. This dish looks great! I would never attempt to recreate a Top Chef dish, especially if it is an Asian or Indian one. I really wouldn’t know where to begin. You not only attempted it, you made it your own. And if Matthew ever “gets good” with chopsticks, ask him to give me lessons. 😉

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