This is probably one of the most popular Chinese exports. It’s a must for sautés and dips. Many imported commercial varieties are available, as well as several local home-made versions. Some contain fermented soy beans, but a pinch of MSG or mushroom powder would definitely deliver the essential umami flavour required.
A more authentic version of the recipe might call for Sichuan Towards the Sun Chile, but Arbol or Reshampatti make a great substitute. Kashmiri chilies add a nice sweetness without too much additional heat. You can flake the chilies yourself in a mortar or electric coffee grinder, or simply purchase them already flaked.
- 2 ½ cups canola, vegetable or sunflower oil
- 2 large shallots, sliced thin
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 2 inches ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 cup Reshampatti Pepper flakes or 2 cups arbol chiles, seeded and flaked
- 1 cup Kashmiri Pepper flakes
- 4 whole pieces star anise
- 3 inches cassia
- 3 Tbsp red Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp white pepper
- 1 Tbsp black pepper
- 1 ½ Tbsp salt
- ½ Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp MSG or 1 Tbsp mushroom powder (opt.)
Add ½ cup canola oil to a wok or pot on high heat. When oil is hot, add sliced shallots and fry until just brown, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Remove with a skimmer and lay on a tray to stop cooking. Keep aside for future use. Leave hot oil in wok.
Add garlic to wok and fry until slightly brown, about 30 seconds. Remove from oil and lay on tray. Keep aside for future use.
Turn off the heat and pour remaining oil into the wok. Place the remaining ingredients in a heat resistant bowl and mix.
Relight the heat under the wok and heat the oil to 360° before it begins to smoke.
When oil is sufficiently hot, dump it on the chile mixture. Stir slightly while it sizzles and let cool.
When the oil is cool enough, place chile crisp in a clean glass jar. It can keep in the fridge for a few weeks.