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There is no single chile paste (la jiao jiang) in China, any more than there is a single salsa in Mexico. It serves as an ingredient in the kitchen and as a condiment at the table. Having tried many bottled versions over the years, we can assure you that by far the best chile paste is the one you make yourself.
- 1 cup loosely packed dried red chiles (1 ounce), rinsed
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1/4 cup minced shallots
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or rice vinegar
In a heatproof bowl, cover the chiles with the boiling water. Place a small plate on the chiles to keep them submerged and soak until pliable, at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Transfer the chiles and their soaking liquid to a blender and puree. Blend in the salt and sugar.
Set a wok over moderately high heat. When it's very hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the shallots and stir-fry until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the chile puree and stir-fry for about 20 seconds, then remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Transfer the chile paste to a bowl to cool, then store in a glass jar.
MAKE AHEAD: The chile paste can be refrigerated for up to 3 months.
Serving size = 2 tablespoons
Recipe reprinted by permission of Food and Wine. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
43 calories; 3g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 393mg sodium; 5g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 1g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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