Review of 101 Asian Dishes You Need To Cook Before You Die by Jet Tila + Recipe

The cookbook and dishes in this post were provided by Jet Tila and Melissa’s Produce but the opinions expressed here are my own.

Photo credit: Ken Goodman
Anyone who watches anything food-related to Asian-inspired dishes knows this man, Chef Jet Tila. His parents owned the famous Bangkok Market in Los Angeles, the first Thai market in the U.S. This is where he worked when he was younger and delivered ingredients to famed chefs in Los Angeles. This experience, formal culinary school training, and mastery of ancient traditions from his Cantonese grandmother, inspired him to go into the culinary world. Now, he’s a media personality with a competitive spirit with appearances on Iron Chef America, Chopped, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Cutthroat Kitchen.

I met Jet back in 2014 at the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. He is the most down-to-earth, humble, and personable guy you’ll ever meet. Meeting him again in July was so exciting as he has done so much in his career over the last 3 years. He is a big inspiration to me as an Asian American foodie, food judge, and competitive home cook.

I’d like to give a big thank you to Melissa’s culinary team and Jet who prepared the following dishes with the utmost care and expertise.

In the Rock The Wok: Stir-Fry Mastery chapter, Kung Pao Shrimp, while very popular in the U.S., originated in southwest China. Jet makes a classic version but substitutes cashews for the peanuts which add a nice crunch and flavor. The dish is quite versatile so you can substitute the shrimp with meat, seafood, or tofu. The shrimp are plump with a nice snap. The sauce is rich and full of flavor. All you need is a bowl of rice and you’re set. Rating: 5/5

Photo credit: Ken Goodman
Mongolian Beef is a Chinese-American dish. The secret to this dish is the marinade which turns out tender pieces of beef. The beef is so tender and the sauce has the perfect balance of flavors: salty sweet, sour, and spicy. Another dish where a bowl of rice would be great to utilize all the sauce. You won’t want to waste a drop! Check out the recipe below! Rating: 5/5

Mongolian Beef
From 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die by Jet Tila, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017

1½ lb (750 g) flank steak, trimmed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp (16 g) cornstarch
2 tbsp (30 ml) water
2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil

1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
3 tbsp (45 ml) oyster sauce
3 tbsp (45 ml) hoisin sauce
2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce
3 tsp (16 ml) white vinegar
½ tbsp (4 g) cornstarch

3 tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
4–6 dried chilies
½ red bell pepper, cut into large dice
½ green bell pepper, cut into large dice
½ medium onion, cut into large dice
2 green onions, sliced

Slice the flank steak across the grain into ¾-inch (19 mm)-thick slices on an angle to make planks then cut the planks into ¾-inch (19 mm) cubes. Place the steak in a shallow bowl and add the baking soda, salt, cornstarch, water and vegetable oil. Massage all the ingredients into the meat. Set it aside until ready to use, or you can cover and refrigerate for a few days.

Combine all sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat the oil to medium high in a wok or medium sauté pan, and sauté the garlic until light brown. Stir in the beef and allow to cook undisturbed for about 30 seconds. Stir and scrape the pan and cook for another 30 seconds. Stir in all the vegetables and let them cook for about 2 minutes, until the onion starts to turn translucent.

Add the sauce, stir constantly and let it cook for about 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Stir in the sliced green onions and serve.

Szechuan-Style Green Beans uses a “twice cooking” technique. They are blanched in hot oil, not quite deep-frying, and then stir-fried in a wok. The technique removes the “rawness” of the green beans and jumpstarts the cooking process. These are some of the best green beans I have ever had! The green bean flavor is intact and amplified by the flavors of the sauce – sweet, salty, zingy, and refreshing. Rating: 5/5

Buddha’s Delight – Vegetable Feast is perfect for the vegetarian or if you are just craving veggies. It’s crammed full of veggies like bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, Napa cabbage, and snow peas. Tofu and mushrooms adds that meaty, protein packed texture to the dish. Personally, I would use this as a side dish to chicken or seafood. I need my meat! Rating: 4.5/5

In the Sushi, Salads And Other Veggies chapter, Chinese Chicken Salad has become a California favorite since the 1990s and is displayed on menus as an entrée salad all across the country. Jet makes this dish easy to make at home. It has all the flavors and textures you know and love about Chinese chicken salad from the crunchy cabbage and wonton strips to the sweetness of the dressing and mandarin orange segments. Rating: 5/5

You know I can’t end a review without dessert! In the Sweets: The Tastiest Way To End Any Meal chapter, Cinnamon And Five-Spice Easy Donuts shows you a donut “hack”. Yes, you can make a yeast donut from scratch, but if you don’t have time to wait for the dough to rise, these donuts are amazing! This hack includes some Asian flare by utilizing five-spice into the sugary outer goodness. It’s like pixie dust for Foodie Neverland! Rating: 5/5

If you love Asian cuisine, you need to add 101 Asian Dishes You Need To Cook Before You Die to your foodie bucket list!

For more information:
101 Asian Dishes You Need To Cook Before You Die by Jet Tila

On the search for an ingredient that you can’t find in the store, check out Melissa’s Produce.

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