Gunpowder Stir-Fry

It’s official: the Craving Mad 50 Giveaway is live.  As the 50th post gets closer, I wanted to remind you to follow @craving_mad on Instagram, and tag your friends on your favorite CM post with #cravingmad50! It’s that simple to enter, and it puts you in the running to win a signature spice blend of your choice. Here’s an example of the prize on the line…

I wanted to flash back the first post on the blog from a year ago–a simple stir-fry that I thought would be the perfect no-frills introduction to Craving Mad. This time, it was the perfect opportunity to use my Gunpowder, a blend I’ve been tweaking over the past two years.


I think this origin story is worth telling– my final college semester was ending,  and I had to clear out my kitchen to make move-out easier. I didn’t need much of an excuse to invite friends for dinner,  and after we worked out a way to pay for the ingredients,  I got a crazy idea… I wanted to make a 3-course meal with some type tea in every dish (one of them already made it to the blog). You see,  I drew a lot of inspiration from the psych concept of “functional fixedness,” which suggests that we struggle to repurpose items for “off-label” uses. I drank a lot of tea (and coffee) during finals,  and I wanted to have a little fun with my studying.

Gunpowder is a riff on classic Chinese five-spice, though even now I have a hard time describing the flavor. The green tea leaves add a cool mixture of savory, bitter, and even citrusy notes that pair really well with five-spice, and a few extra components like orange peel to push it over the edge. It’s taken a lot of trial and error, but I think it’s best used as a finishing spice. Add it at the end of cooking the way chefs add salt, and it’ll transform your dish as soon as it hits the heat. In this case,  I had stir-fried these rice noodles, added the gunpowder.


Let’s cook.

You’ll need:

2 lb Tilapia Filets

1 Package of Rice Noodles

1 Orange,  juiced

1 Shallot, sliced thinly

1 Cup Spinach

3 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1 Tbs ginger, minced

2 Tbs Flour

1/2 Cup Soy Sauce

1/4 Cup Sesame Seeds

1 Tbs Coriander Powder

1 Tbs Garlic Powder

1 Tbs Chili Flakes

Salt & Pepper to taste.

1. Dry tilapia with paper towels, then season with salt, pepper, coriander, garlic powder. Sear on medium high heat.

2. Combine soy sauce, orange juice, minced garlic and ginger in a bowl, and stir to combine. Add to fish, and reduce to a thin glaze, then remove from the heat.

3. Spread shallot slices on paper towel, then season with salt and flour to draw out moisture.  Fry in oil on med-high heat until golden, then drain.

4. Add 1 Tbs of shallot oil into a hot wok, then stir in remaining garlic, and ginger. Add orange zest, and cooked rice noodles, and stir fry. Add spinach, and continue stirring.

5. Lower the heat, then add one tbs of gunpowder to the wok, and stir to mix thoroughly. Serve with with the glazed tilapia and crispy shallots.



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