In his headnote to this recipe, Charles Phan, owner and chef of The Slanted Door, in San Francisco, doesn’t mention exactly which chile pastes this homemade version “runs circles around,” but the implication is clear — in this household, at least. Store-bought chile-garlic sauce will be fighting for its space on the refrigerator door from now on.
This stuff is so, so good. The shallots make it rich and almost jammy, and the Sichuan peppercorns lend a subtle numbing bite. It tastes great stirred into fried rice, slathered across eggs, tossed into stir-fries, smeared over toast, or swirled into noodle soup — anywhere you might use a different, far inferior, hot sauce or chile paste.
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Shallot Chile Paste Recipe
Adapted very slightly from Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup finely minced garlic
- 1/4 cup red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1/3 cup ground bean paste
- 2 tablespoons rice wine
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- Grind the peppercorns coarsely in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder — I use an old Krups coffee grinder when I don’t want an arm workout — and set aside.
- Set a small saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. (Yes it is a lot of oil. You will enjoy this oil, I promise.) Add the shallots cook, stirring, for about 6 minutes, or until the shallots are golden. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes longer, until both shallots and garlic are lightly browned and toasty. Not burned!
- Stir in the red pepper flakes, paprika, and peppercorns, mixing well. Add the bean paste, wine, sugar, and soy sauce, and mix. Cook, stirring all the while, for another minute. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Use it right away, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 months.