/ Matt Maranian / 2 pm Wed, Jun 18 2014
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  • This chili sauce tastes great even on chocolate ice cream

    This chili sauce tastes great even on chocolate ice cream

    Not as hot as it looks. Good on anything. Cures all that ails you. A recipe by Matt Maranian.

    I’m always looking for a single, simple ingredient that can doctor up a lackluster meal or a boring vegetable, and this is the best I’ve come across; a loose, peanut oil-based sauce of roasty red chili flakes, whole garlic cloves, salty fermented black beans, and fragrant fresh ginger. It’s more flavorful than fiery and although the taste is markedly Chinese, the sludge—studded with buttery-soft deep-fried garlic cloves—is great on nearly anything from meat to baked squash to plain white rice, to 420 indulgences like macaroni and cheese (with extra cheese), or nachos piled high with slivered green onions, pickled jalapenos, and Monterey Jack. Even chocolate ice cream. I have yet to find something edible this sauce doesn’t improve, and the three components—the loose solids, the whole cloves, and the oil—can also be used separately with different results. The flavored oil alone can be used for cooking, seasoning, grilling, or dressing. The infused garlic cloves spread easily with a knife, and just a small amount of the sludge is a great addition to a marinade. Once you get hooked you’ll never stop experimenting. Even better, if you scoop some into a jar, cut a 7" x 7" square from a brown paper shopping bag, wrap the lid and tie it with a piece of jute, you’ll have a handmade dinner party gift that’ll upstage any stupid bottle of wine.


    ¾ cup dried red chili flakes

    ½ cup Chinese fermented black beans*

    20 large garlic cloves

    One 3-4" piece of fresh ginger

    2 ¾ cups peanut oil

    ½ cup plain sesame oil

    Coarsely chop the black beans. Peel the garlic by placing one clove at a time under the concave side of a wooden spoon, and press just hard enough to crush the clove and loosen the skin for easy removal. Snip off the hard stem end. Peel, grate, and mince the ginger into two heaping tablespoons.

    Combine all ingredients into a nonreactive 2 ½ quart saucepan. Clip a candy or deep-fry thermometer on the edge of the pan, into the mixture. Stir occasionally over medium-low heat, and bring to a temperature of 225º. Set the timer and simmer the sludge for 15 minutes, maintaining a consistent temperature between 225º and 250º. Remove from heat, allow to cool. bean sludge 2

    Spoon into glass jars or a plastic airtight container and store at room temperature.

    *If you can’t find plain Chinese fermented black beans, a chunky black bean & garlic sauce (usually stocked in the Asian section of most big grocery stores) is an acceptable substitute.


    Notable Replies

    1. So basically, change "store at room temperature" to "store in the refrigerator" and we're good.

      Incidentally, you know what else is a health hazard? Damn near everything you do in your home kitchen.
      Got a cat? Allow it into the kitchen? Congratulations, you've just been shut down by the FDA. Use the same preparation surfaces for processing meat, dairy, and vegetables? You fail. Hell, don't have a three-compartment sink? Yeah, you're done.

      Health hazards in food manufacturing aren't binary but are evaluated on a scale. The risks one must manage in a large manufacturing facility that supplies a few hundred retail locations and produces tens of thousands of retail packages per day aren't the ones you should be concerned about when making a recipe for your family.

    2. I agree with almost everything you said. But, botulism is on another level from other foodborne illnesses in that it can much more easily kill an otherwise healthy person. Salmonella, gastroenteritis etc. will make you feel crummy for a little while, but with treatment will generally resolve without permanent consequences. Botulism (or more specifically, a high concentration of botulism toxin from the growth of botulism bacteria) can be much more serious, and you don't have to be an infant or an elderly person for it to kill you.

      Obviously the author has had a fine experience with this recipe, and hasn't had any illness or death. Maybe if you thoroughly cook the garlic before it goes into the oil (as this recipe seems to call for) it eliminates the risk. But, I really don't know. And it seems wise to post the warning, in my opinon. Or, at the least, include a warning about the potential risks if the garlic isn't thoroughly cooked (if indeed that is a sufficient process to mitigate the risk).

      As to whether someone is likely to use a whole mason jar full of hot sauce in 2-3 days... I love spicy food, but it takes me 6-8 months to get through a big bottle of Sriracha or Tapatio.

      I am definitely not trying to be a wet blanket; just trying to present the food safety risks of garlic-in-oil. Like I said, it may be that by cooking the garlic the risk is eliminated, but people should look into that (and thus make sure to thoroughly cook the garlic) before making it.

    3. An even better way to peel garlic IMO is to twist both ends back and forth. The hull should come off in one or two pieces every time. Super easy to peel garlic and keeps the cloves perfectly intact!

    4. I've been making a basic version of this chili sauce with the same six base ingredients (and a tiny bit of star anise and a pinch of smoked paprika) for a while, and it's delicious.

      Really, just wanted to post this video of how to peel large/r quantities of garlic REAL quick. It's a game changer if you work on a larger scale, or just need a lot of peeled garlic and don't have a lot of time. It WORKS.

      [vimeo 29605182 w=695 h=390]

    Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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