Fried Brussels Sprouts With Shallots and Chilies

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Fried Brussels Sprouts With Shallots and Chilies

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: Thai bird chilies are very hot. For a milder version, replace 3 to 4 Thai bird chilies with 1 single jalapeño or serrano pepper, or omit entirely.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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  • Yield:serves 8 to 10
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:20 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 to 2 limes
  • 3 to 4 Thai bird chilis, finely chopped (see note above)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced on a microplane grater (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 quarts vegetable, canola, or peanut oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, outer leaves removed, split in half
  • 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)


  1. 1.

    Combine fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, chilies, garlic, and cilantro in a small bowl. Whisk until sugar is dissolved.

  2. 2.

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with a triple layer of paper towels. In a large wok or Dutch oven, heat oil to 400°F. Add half of Brussels sprouts and half of shallots. Oil temperature will drop to around 325°F. Adjust heat to maintain this temperature. Cook, stirring and agitating with a metal spider until Brussels sprouts are deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined baking sheet. Reheat oil to 400°F and repeat with remaining sprouts and shallots.

  3. 3.

    Transfer sprouts and shallots to a large bowl and add dressing. Toss to combine and serve.