21 Jan 2017

mayoraasei: (Geek)
It's one of my favourite dishes at 鼎泰丰 (Din Tai Fung), the deliciously numbing and slightly chilli oil, and the (really quite good) fat noodles soaking up the juice.

The "red oil" is a versatile mixture used in a several of my favourite Szechuan cuisines - the chilli oil wonton, the cold noodles, and add it as topping to your favourite noodles.

I did this as an experiment, but it actually turned out rather amazing. This is quite a versatile recipe, so you can alter whatever spices you prefer to be in there.

A) Dry ingredients (alter this to taste):
- Sugar
- Salt
- Crushed Szechuan pepper 花椒
- Crushed fennel seeds 茴香籽
- Crushed fried red onions 炸紅蔥頭 (you can get these from SE Asian shops)
- Crushed fried garlic 炸蒜
- Chilli powder or crushed dried chillis 辣椒粉或干辣椒碎 (one recipe suggested 3 different types of powder, I happened to have some chilli powder I got from Coles and a bag of crushed chilli from a Korean store, though to be honest I'm not connoisseur enough to taste the difference)
(Optional) Sesame or crushed peanuts
(Optional) Pepper 胡椒
(Optional) Lithospermum 紫草 - supposedly this, in Chinese medicine, counteracts the "hot" effects of the other chillis/peppers that's added to this

B) Oil ingredients:
- Fresh ginger
- Fresh garlic
- Fresh shallot
- Dried Szechuan pepper
- Dried star anise
- Dried cinnamon (I actually forgot this, but it didn't seem to affect the core of the taste too much)

The idea is that you use low heat to deep fry all of the ingredients in (B). Unlike in other Asian stirfry cuisine where you typically heat up the oil before adding in the spices, you actually put the ingredients into cold oil and slowly heat it until small bubbles ooze, and let it cook until the ingredients turn crisp. Then you discard the spices in the oil and pour the oil, while hot, onto all the dry ingredients.

To make the sauce for the wonton or the cold noodles, mix one part of the chill oil/paste to one part Chinese vinegar (or black vinegar) to one part soy sauce.

You would definitely scoop some of the crushed/ground spices along with the oil, because that's where the flavour pops.

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