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

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

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.