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Tuesday Recipe Club: Sweet Chili Yams & Cincy Chili High-Country Style

March 14th, 2006

Here are two awesome recipes. One is from Wacky H, in Portland, Ore., and the other is from her friend, who lives in Colorado.

Sweet Chili Yams and Cincy Chili High-Country Style. These recipes are great — give them a try and let me know what you think. As always, send me a recipe if you’d like and I’ll run it.

Bon appetit.


From Wacky H:

A quick, yummy snack or nice side dish, either way excellent
with a complementary beer like Lagunitas Brown Shugga


Yams cut into wedges (figure about 1 yam per person)
Big Dan’s Bento sweet chili sauce (from Thailand, but mfg’ed for
Big Dan’s Original Bento Concepts in Beaverton– soooo good!)
Olive oil
Garlic salt/ salt
Parmesan (optional)

Grease cookie sheet with olive oil and a sprinkling of garlic salt.

Arrange your yam wedges, paint sauce on them, and bake at 380 to desired doneness (some people like them soft and melt-in-your-mouth, some people like them more crispy)– adjust oven temp accordingly when getting soft (higher for toasty, lower for continued soft doneness).

Turn periodically, and when almost done, if you desire, add another spooning of sauce and sprinkle with parmesan and let that brown just a tad longer. I do a final sprinkling of garlic salt or plain salt before serving.

And from H’s friend:


This is quite the bastardization of one of America’s truly unique regional dishes. Growing up just north of Cincinnati, I ate my fair share of Cheese Coney’s and Three-ways (spaghetti, chili, cheese) served by the countless restaurants specializing in Cincinnati Chili. Originally conceived by a Macedonian immigrant and first served by a Greek, this Hillbilly has now devised his own recipe, and has been serving it to unsuspecting Coloradans (and Texans. I loving seeing the reaction of Texans, they don’t know what the hell to think).

The recipe below makes a ridiculous amount of chili. I’ve usually got a bunch of friends over when we whip this up, and I always want to have leftovers. For your standard four-servings, use 1 lb. each of ground pork and beef (or throw in ground buffalo instead, especially if you’re a bit leery of the grease. But the grease is what makes it so good…), 1 1/2 lb.. of pasta, and put in a little less than half of the rest of the ingredients (You should still have enough left over for Coneys). Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the ingredients. I understand; those little bottles of powder are expensive, especially when you just need a teaspoon. I’ve underlined the ones most essential. Same with the beans & the peppers. I’ve substituted garbanzos, pintos, white kidney, etc., and just chop up a green or red bell pepper if you can’t find these funky ones.

In the biggest pot you got:

2 TB olive oil
15 cloves of garlic (minced, approx. 6 TB)
over medium/low heat, then throw in:
1 1/2 sweet yellow onions (4 cups, diced)
1 tsp. sugar
once onion starts to caramelize add:
4 serranos (I usually use two jalapenos/two serranos, but Safeway was out of jalapenos, can you believe that? We’re in friggin’ Colorado!)
1 pasilla pepper
1 anaheim pepper (they’ve got these crazy peppers)
2 yellow squash (optional, I throw squash in everything)
all nicely chopped. Saute 10 minutes or so, then add:
5 roma tomatoes (diced)
2 lb. ground pork
2 lb. ground beef
1lb ground buffalo (or add extra pork or beef if you’re poor)
Cook over medium heat (stirring often). DO NOT DRAIN!
Love the grease. The higher the fat content of the ground beef,
the better this turns out. Once meat is brown, dump in the following cans of:
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
14.5 oz diced tomatoes
12 oz tomato paste
15 oz. tomato sauce
bring to boil, back down to low heat, then:
12 fresh basil leaves (finely chopped) or 3 tsp. dried
3 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. cumin
chile molido or chili powder
ground oregano or 3 tsp. dried
1 tsp. cocoa (I want to underline this one but it’s not crucial) (note from Wacky Mommy: Hell yes, it should be underlined, he’s right. It is crucial. I use a tablespoon, though, and extra sugar to sweeten it up)
1/2 tsp. ground sage
garam masala
white pepper or 1 tsp. black pepper
Cavendar’s Greek seasoning
1/2 stick of cinnamon or 1/2 tsp. ground
4 bay leaves
& simmer 1/2 hour. Then toss in:
15oz. cans of
kidney beans
black beans
great northern beans
and let simmer while you start to boil:
3 lb. of spaghetti (& you’ll still have leftover chili)
which should take about another 1/2 hour.

This dish is properly served by pouring the chili over the spaghetti, then topping with a mound of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (very important). Serve with oyster crackers & hot sauce on the side. And I like to have BBQ potato chips; I always ordered a little bag at the Chili places back in Cincy.


  1. HH says

    Dear Wacky Mommy:
    Thanks for the great recipes! Wow, you are swell.
    Happy Cook

    March 14th, 2006 | #

  2. Wacky Mommy says

    No, thank you!

    March 14th, 2006 | #

  3. Louie says

    I am trying to ascertain where I can find some “Big Dan’s Sweet Chili” and this recipe Wacky Mommy,for sweet chili Yams is the closest I can get to information that refers too Big Dan’s Original Sweet Chili sauce made by Bento Concepts, in Oregon. That information was on the bottle label from a bottle I inadvertantly found at a fast food/gas stop. Please help line me out in finding a source i.e., phone number of local supplier (Oly/WA)or warehouse etc…I would really appreciat it.


    April 9th, 2006 | #

  4. Wacky Mommy says

    Any of the sweet chili bento sauces are fine to use. They usually cost $2-$3 a bottle. You can find them in the Asian food section of the supermarket. I just use Big Dan’s cuz it’s the cheapest.

    April 10th, 2006 | #

  5. Carol says

    Costco used to carry Big Dan’s but have since discontinued it. It was $1.95 a 24 oz bottle. I have tried to search Big Dan’s…Beaverton… If anyone knows how to get ahold of the manufacturer please help..

    April 21st, 2006 | #

  6. Joshua says

    I did an internet search for Big Dan’s Bento Sauce and your site came up because of your recipe for Sweet Chili Yams. My family had been buying this sauce for years (you’re right, …it’s really good). We can no longer find it. Do you happen to know where this sauce might still be available? Your recipe looks good, I hope the sauce is still available… Thanks.


    November 27th, 2006 | #

  7. Himself says

    Joshua: Big Dan’s is just imported Thai sweet chili sauce with his laughable story about having invented bento and his ugly mug pasted on the bottle. It’s all pretty much the same, and available under many brands at your local Asian grocery or in the Asian section of your local supermarket.

    November 29th, 2006 | #

  8. Wacky Mommy says

    Big Dan didn’t invent bento???

    November 29th, 2006 | #

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