/ 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.

    Ingredients:

    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.

    / / 33 COMMENTS