Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice

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Born in OKC
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2005/06/21 18:57:49 (permalink)

Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice

I wonder how many people on this board remember Shanghai Jimmy and Chili Rice at several locations in Dallas from at least the 1950's on? Very, very good mild chili over rice. No beans. Probably made from commonly available ingredients but incomparable. It was / is my own candidate for best ever, and I'd walk for some distance to have some more.
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    tiki
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2005/06/21 20:02:01 (permalink)
    Actually sound like a good way to eat chili---over rice! I have a great "Teas Red" recipe that i bet would be great with rice---and look good too!
    #2
    BT
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2005/06/21 22:40:06 (permalink)
    I've eaten chili over rice every now and then for most of my life, but I kind of object to the Texan suggestion (based on the name "Shanghai" Jimmy) that this has anything at all to do with China. I mean the rice involved was probably grown in Texas which, along with neighbor Louisiana, is a big producer. So the dish is pure Texas and I, at least, wish they hadn't seen a need to implicate another culture.
    #3
    signman
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2005/06/21 23:25:11 (permalink)
    Well as I recall the story, Shanghai Jimmy got his name because of his world travel to the Far East, etc. I don't think it was anything derogatory. As a Texan he was a fine chili cook and competed at Terlinga. When he found himself in China, he naturally used rice as a foundation for his beloved Texas chili. He was a well known character in Dallas, and when I made my first trip there in 1976, one of the places I had heard about and made it a point to visit was Shanghai Jimmy's "Chili rice is nice" on Lemmon Ave.

    I would still think of Shanghai Jimmy every time I visited the Prince of Hamburgers just down the street on Lemmon, but with the recent word that Prince has closed and will no longer be serving their wonderful sweet and creamy homemade root beer, Lemmon will be just another intersection as I make my way down Inwood to the original Sonny Bryans.
    #4
    Born in OKC
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2005/06/22 03:50:17 (permalink)
    Shanghai Jimmy was a Minnesotan, I think, who mustered out of the army in the Far East after World War I, "went native," and stayed until the communists took over China in 1949. There are references to him in several books about life in China between the wars. One of his food operations was named "Jimmy's Kitchen," said to have been a white table cloth place in Shanghai. I think there is a place or places in Hong Kong and perhaps elsewhere in China today that do business under the same name. He may have had some family in Texas which was why he landed in Dallas.

    He would put rice in a cardboard cup, topped with chili, chopped onion, a slice of margarine (the chili was about greaseless), grated cheese (a dried cheddar flavored powder) and a mild salsa ("Jimmy's") and it was great. Double orders worked two ways, twice as much of everything in a larger cup, or twice the chili for the same amount of rice. The spray dispenser lemonade seen in many fast food places went very well with chili rice.

    There were stories that that the oilman Clint Murchison liked chili rice and was going to bankroll wider distribution and that a local grocery chain, Minyyard's, was going to market a Shanghai Jimmy mix ala Wick Fowler's, but they came to nothing. You see recipes for his chili but SFAIK they were not the chili.

    Tiki, try your chili over rice some time. The result will be gratifying.

    In the Dallas - Fort Worth area today, the El Fenix chili over their rice with a side of chopped onion and grated chese may be about as close as you can get to the Shanghai Jimmy product. Resky's, Refsky's(?) in Fort Worth is the best best chili I have had in that area and very good, IMO, but not the same.
    #5
    michaelgemmell
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2005/06/22 17:30:26 (permalink)
    Now, please don't jump on me, because I fully understand that in Baja Oklahoma (isn't that the correct way to call it, Born in OKC?) chili does not contain beans. However, beans plus rice equal complete protein. May I suggest a side of beans with that? Remember that if you are alone or "en famille" that the natural result of the beans is of no importance. Now you all know why red beans and rice is such a staple elsewhere--low fat, cheap and highly nutritious. Yum!
    #6
    tiki
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2005/06/22 17:45:14 (permalink)
    a bowl of beans WITH your chili is perfectly respectable in these regions---and GOOD too! Rice,beans,chili---sounds just fine with me!
    #7
    BT
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2005/06/22 18:55:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by michaelgemmell

    Now you all know why red beans and rice is such a staple elsewhere--low fat, cheap and highly nutritious. Yum!


    Not just red beans and rice. In Cuba (and S. Florida) it's black beans and rice. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, it's "peas" (beans, actually) and rice. In Mexico, of course, it's pinto (or sometimes red) beans and rice. The cuisine of just about every "economically challenged" part of the world has some kind of beans and rice dish.
    #8
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2005/06/22 18:55:28 (permalink)
    The Sundancer does not do beans. It ain't cause I do not like them but it is because of the effect it has on me. I guess as you get older, different foods have other results. I cannot do even a small amount of beans even two or three.

    I get my chili without or I do not get it at all. I understand that many prefer it with beans but they obviously do not share some of the problems I have.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #9
    Born in OKC
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2005/06/22 21:38:33 (permalink)
    Some interesting posts since my last deserve comment.

    I grew up in Texas and visited grandparents and aunts and uncles in Oklahoma frequently. There was a time when I was a huge Sooner fan. Today, I'm in Georgia and can laugh at Texas jokes, and Aggie jokes and Okie jokes and, well, Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia jokes also. I guess the first time I heard the Baja Oklahoma tag was when I read the Dan Jenkins novel.

    So far as chili is concerned, I believe the classic concoction to be meat from a beef critter of some character (as some one else said long ago) and red chili pepper and not much else. I agree that beans should really be a side dish.

    Having said that, I do eat chili with beans. I also like the "Greek" chili such as is sometimes used on hot dogs. Nu-Way Hot Dogs in Macon, Goeorgia has a really good version. Some day I hope to have a chili eating trip to Cinncinatti. And there is a good recipe I've tried that uses canned refried beans in chili. The beans make a thick sauce. I certainly agree that chili with beans is good on rice.

    If I make chili though, it almost always is without beans. It is all beef. No pork although I understand it is juicy. It would not occur to me to add carrots though I think they'd cook down and go unrecognized. And please, no turkey or chicken.

    And I like beans and rice with or without meat, whether red or black, or carribean style with only a few brown beans or pigeon peas. A special favorite of my are the small red beans some times seen. If you can get the bone and skin from a quarter of barbequed pork it makes a super base for cooking beans of several kinds.

    Going back to the effect that beans have on some folks, another bit of Shanghai Jimmy lore was that he said he started serving chili over rice after a customer complained of the effect beans had on him. Also, Jimmy made a fine vegetarian "chili" at one of his stops in Dallas. He used black eye peas. Like his other stuff it was very good.



    #10
    Bushie
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2005/06/22 22:00:51 (permalink)
    "Chili rice is very nice."

    I've served this a lot. Better than Frito Pie.
    #11
    Born in OKC
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2005/06/23 05:56:00 (permalink)

    "Chili Rice is Very Nice," was Shanghai Jimmy's slogan.

    I had friends who added rhyming lines to it.

    Jimmy had a one page Bill of Fare: single dip, double dip,
    with cheese and so on. It also offered "Chinese Chow," a
    sort of pork chop suey. I saw him make some one a chili dog
    once, but that was not usual. He had to get the weiner out
    of the refrigeratorand heat it in a pan of water.

    Just once I saw a shrimp creole as a special.

    On the back side of menu was a biographical sketch about him
    (Jimmy) that included dates when he was in various places,
    mostly in the Far East.

    #12
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/01/13 12:01:54 (permalink)
    Hi Yall!
    Sounds like a few Shanghai Jimmy chili rice fans here. Include me! Anyone who has more interest in Jimmy can put --"shanghai jimmy" chili-- into a Google search and see all the info........ but the search for his REAL "chili rice" recipe is still on.
    Joe
    #13
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/03/25 12:36:56 (permalink)
    Help from OKC!!

    You may be the one to rediscover how Jimmy made that "oh so nice" chili rice. The search is what brought me to this site. There have been a few things on the "weird things" thread I started that could..... be what's missing. Soy sauce, something sweet, rosemary, hmmm? Jimmy's chili was mild so that kids, like myself, would like it. My memory might not be so good as to how it did exactly taste and how it was served. There was also a place in Austin that served it, but not sure it was Jimmy's exact recipe. It was close though and real good. I know it was layered and there was a pat of margerine somewhere but...??? There are some good threads at the Dallas history web site forum but no one there knows the exact recipe. It would just be a shame for Jimmy's famous chili rice to be lost forever.
    Joe
    #14
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/03/28 11:40:10 (permalink)
    Well, I dug up a few things on the net today. Jimmy's recipe from his "how to make good texas chili" record album had lemon juice. I also saw where someone said he used powderd cheese, in the layering process, like comes in the mack n cheese boxes. He had oyster crackers and lemonaide for those who wanted it. Oh, and margerine, not butter, was in the layers somewhere.
    Joe
    #15
    signman
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/03/28 23:46:08 (permalink)
    Joe, keep on this. I do remember the pat of margarine. I regret not being more observant when I visited his chili parlor, but 30 years ago, I wasn't the Roadfooder I am now.
    #16
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/03/30 13:38:59 (permalink)
    I need to revive the threads at he dallas history forum. Lots of folks there had some good memories of how Jimmy's chili rice was served. Anyone wanting to learn more or help rediscover the way to make the chili rice can google;
    "shanghai jimmy" chili
    and lots of stuff will come up uncluding the posts at the history forum.
    Joe
    #17
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/08/16 16:14:59 (permalink)
    I may have stumbled upon Jimmy's missing ingredient. I mentioned soy sauce earlier. I think thats it. I used a tablespoon per pound of meat, tasted right to me but... it's been soooo long. Born in OKC, what do you think? Could this be it?
    Joe
    #18
    HollyDolly
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/08/22 08:58:49 (permalink)
    Never had Jimmy's chili in Dallas.Momma used a recipe she got from the San Antonio Light years ago.It had chili powder,ground beef, and kidney beans.Forgot the exact recipe.Momma made it mild though I assume you could zip it up a bit with the chili.We always ate it with rice.I like chili on rice.
    I sold some stuff on ebay.One item was aGebhardt's Chili Powder cookbook from the 1920s.
    It showned one of their products was chili and rice in a can,and another item was deviled chili meat.
    You could send a dollar to them and they would send you a box of their different products
    plus a cookbook.
    #19
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/08/28 17:57:11 (permalink)
    Where do I send that dollar Holly? :~) I wish! Neat page page of chili history, thanks!
    Joe
    #20
    oltheimmer
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/08/29 23:12:59 (permalink)
    This is very interesting Papajoe - I'd never heard of it before. Somewhere around here I have a copy of an old newspaper ad for Gebhardt's Potted Chili Meat. If I ever find it I'll scan it and post it.

    I read the thread on the Dallas History board; the trouble with those clone recipes is the term 'chili powder.' There are hundreds of products called chili powder and they vary widely. I'd hazard a guess Shanghai Jimmy had a custom blend, like James Coney Island here. Have you tried various chiles individually until you identify the predominant taste? If it was a mild chili, probably not much ancho.

    Here's a blurb from Jamison and Jamison's Texas Home Cooking: ...Dallas's legendary Shanghai Jimmy was the king of options. At his hole-in-the-wall joint which was continually changing addresses, devoted customers ordered by the number, from one to eleven. The basic dish was chili and rice, a number one. Jimmy added embellishments on each step up to his ultimate creation, a pint tub with rice, two scoops of chili, two kinds of cheese, chopped onions and celery, sweet pickle relish, oyster crackers, and, on the side for extra spice, a couple of salsas. Late in life Jimmy took up ice skating and relocated his business by a rink, calling the joint 'Chili Rice on Ice is Nice.'

    No recipe, however.
    #21
    xannie_01
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/08/30 00:07:55 (permalink)
    everyone knows that
    shangai jimmy's rice is very nice..
    and elvis presley always ordered the #3
    #22
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/08/30 13:22:45 (permalink)
    Wow, neat info Olth, thanks!!! I have not tried various chiles. I am betting Jimmy just used chili powder. He always tried to keep the price low. And yes, it was a mild chili. I ate his Chili Rice allot as a young kid. Jimmy is responsible for making me a chili head!

    Oh Xannie, I did not know that Elvis ate at Jimmy's! How did you know he ordered the #3?, and what was a #3?
    Joe
    #23
    xannie_01
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/08/30 13:24:57 (permalink)
    PapaJoe,
    i read it in the dallas morning snooze years ago
    from columnist john anders.
    i just remember the number 3
    i'm going to the archives now and try to find it.
    #24
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/08/30 13:53:20 (permalink)
    Wow, neat Xannie!
    Joe
    #25
    xannie_01
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/08/31 21:51:49 (permalink)
    sheesh, it cost me $2.95 to get the paper to give me the article but i did it.
    from john anders column, august 15, 1997..
    Elvis always ordered the number 9 tub;
    the works- chili, rice, onions, cheese,
    celery and relish. Shanghai Jimmy said "he was always polite".
    #26
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/09/02 10:42:02 (permalink)
    I am still speachless Xannie. Wow is all I can think to say! Oh, and thanks soooo much!

    I remember no mention of this at the Dallas History .org web site. Maybe you would like to post this there?

    An easy way to find the thread is to google Shanghai Jimmy chili. I know you already knew that Xannie!
    Joe
    #27
    Born in OKC
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/09/08 21:11:17 (permalink)
    With the exception of some little things like the item from a John Anders column I doubt there is too much more to learn about Shanghai Jimmy. It would be interesting if someone could run down more WW 2 survivors he fed and child hood friends and people he skated with and so on. And he must have had contact with people the several times he took sabbaticals. The Dallas website has some stuff from people who knew him.

    The easy way to find the website of the the Dallas Historical Society is to enter the address: dallashistory.org and select the message board. Then use the Search function and Shanghai Jimmy or maybe just chili. I believe the Shanghai Jimmy thread is the longest dealing with chili.

    PJ8, I doubt that soy sauce was the magic ingredient but I'll try that the next time I make chili. (It may be hard for me to make an opinion. I use very little salt or soy anymore when cooking or at table.) When Shanghai Jimmy prepared an order of chili rice I remember clearly he added salt, or I wonder now if it was salt and a little MSG. Or maybe MSG was the secret ingredient.

    Really, I believe that Jimmy's recipe was an unusually good combination of more or less readily available ingredients.

    So far as what was a # 3 or # 8 or # 9, a correspondent on this board was going to post a menu somewhere but I don't remember if that happened. I'd sure like to see one again.

    I do remember that the chopped celery was one thing I did not like in chili rice and it is one thing I never use when I make chili. I always thought it was for the "Chinese Chow" that Jimmy also offered frequently.

    Any foodie who goes to the Dallas History website may be put off by the relative lack of food items or at least recipes. After all, it is a history site and a fairly localized/speciaized one at that. However, use the search function and and you'll find what might be the real recipe for "Brockle's Dressing," once relished at a Dallas restaurant, a knock-off of the gravy or sauce for El Fenix enchiladas, and others. The Brockle's is not bad though my taste in dips or salad dressings runs in other directions and the El Fenix sauce looks worth trying.

    I will say this, if any of the SJCR's I visited (probably six or seven total) were still in business, it would fit the Road food mold in every way!
    #28
    POGUE
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/09/10 01:55:00 (permalink)
    The ingredient that no one mentions and which I thought made special and kicked it over was the chopped celery you would add and mixed up into the works. I've got an old menu from Shanghai Jimmy's buried in a box somewhere, but I ain't digging it out. But I think the actual slogan many have been: "Chili Rice Iz Very Nice." Is spelt with a "z". A bio of Shanghai Jimmy's chequer career was also print on the back of the menu.

    He used to go ice-skating up at Love Field when it was turned into an entertainment complex and he was a graceful skater. This was the mid-seventies. He must have been eighty then. Wore a big cowboy hat.
    #29
    PapaJoe8
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    RE: Shanghai Jimmy's Chili Rice 2006/09/19 15:22:18 (permalink)
    Welcome to roadfood Pogue! Wow, you have a menu! Ok, ok, we won't badger you to post it. But... please do tell us more as you remember.

    OKC, I have heard Jimmy's "chinese chow" was great. Now for a recipe of that. To much to hope for I guess?

    The celery is not something I asked for on my chili rice as a kid. I didn't like celery at all back then. Pogue liked it so I may try some. Now I like everything.
    Joe
    #30
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