Fiery and filled with texture, Laoganma's Spicy Chili Crisp might be one of the best condiments out there. This version is inspired by the original, but taken up a notch. It's loaded with extra-large pieces of fried shallot and garlic chips, bonus aromatics for some subtle background noise, and peanuts for a nutty crunch. This recipe can easily be adapted to suit your taste—mix and match chilies and spices, adjust the seasoning, and add crunch to your heart's content.
Why It Works
- The combination of árbol, japones, and Kashmiri red chilies offers up a fiery punch along with fruity and bright flavors.
- Frying the shallots and garlic in the same oil used in the chili crisp yields maximum flavor.
- A high ratio of fried shallots and garlic results in more texture and crunch than in the original chili crisp.
- The addition of MSG and mushroom powder lends an addictive savoriness and umami.
- Pouring hot oil over the dried chilies and spices allows them to quickly bloom, releasing their aromatics.
- Yield:1 quart (900ml)
- Active time: 1 hour
- Total time:1 1/2 hours
- 27g (1 cup) dried árbol chilies, stems removed (see note)
- 20g (3/4 cup) dried chiles japones, stems removed (see note)
- 25g (3/4 cup) dried Kashmiri red chilies, stems removed (see note)
- 1/2 cup (50g) roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
- 2-inch piece (30g) fresh ginger, sliced into thin matchsticks
- 3/4 teaspoon (2g) freshly ground black pepper
- 3 pieces whole star anise
- 2 red or black cardamom pods, split in half
- 2 teaspoons (6g) freshly ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons (28g) freshly ground Sichuan peppercorn (see note)
- 3 tablespoons (12g) porcini or shiitake mushroom powder
- 5 teaspoons (30g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same by weight
- 1 teaspoon (4g) MSG (optional)
- 2 tablespoons (20g) sugar
- 2 1/2 cups (500g) peanut oil, or any other neutral oil
- 2 cups (200g) thinly sliced shallots (about 1mm thick)
- 3/4 cup (65g) thinly sliced garlic (about 1mm thick)
Put on disposable latex gloves.
Place a wire rack inside a quarter- or half-sheet tray. Using your hands and kitchen shears, cut open chilies and place them on rack. Shake rack to sift off most of the seeds (don't worry about removing all the seeds). Transfer chilies to a bowl and discard seeds.
Using a spice grinder and working in batches, process chilies until they are ground to a size just larger than standard chili flakes. Transfer processed chilies to a heatproof bowl or pot large enough to accommodate bubbling oil (at least 4 quarts in size). Combine chili flakes with peanuts, ginger, black pepper, star anise, cardamom, cumin, Sichuan peppercorn, mushroom powder, salt, MSG (if using), and sugar. Set aside.
Set a fine-mesh strainer over a 2-quart heatproof bowl. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine oil and shallots. Cook over high heat while constantly stirring. Once shallots become light golden brown, strain. Pour oil back into pot and add garlic. Cook over medium-low heat, constantly stirring, until light golden brown, then strain. Return oil to pot once more. Set aside fried shallots and garlic.
Heat oil to 375°F (190°C). Pour hot oil over chilies, spices, and other seasonings. Stir well to distribute hot oil throughout. Set aside to fully cool, about 30 minutes or until bowl or pot is cool to the touch.
Once chili-and-oil mixture has fully cooled, remove star anise and cardamom pods. Mix in fried shallots and garlic. Pour finished chili crisp into jars and store in the fridge for about 3 months. It can be served immediately, but for best flavor, eat it the next day. Stir well before serving.