Discover traditional Chinese food in Beyond the Great Wall: Recipes and Travels in the Other China by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, with recipes like Hani Soy Sprout Salad; Dai Flavored Oil; Dai Chile-Fish Soup with Flavored Oil; and Lisu Spice-Rubbed Roast Pork.
Makes a generous 2 tablespoons
Flavored oils are the cook's best friend. In Southeast Asia, these oils—others include scallion oil, chile oil (see page 29 of the book), garlic oil, and combinations thereof—are added at the last moment, just before the dish is served. Sometimes they are floated on the surface of a soup when it is served, as olive oil or butter might be on a Mediterranean or European soup, to give a subtle extra richness. Other times, as in this soup, they are added near the end of cooking to pull all the flavors together and accentuate them. Try adding this oil at the last minute to other soups to give them another layer of flavor and heat.
Heat the oil in a small heavy skillet. When it is hot, toss in the chiles and garlic and wait several seconds, until they start to brown, then remove from the heat and remove the chiles. Add the oil and garlic to the hot soup, or put out as a table condiment.
Note On Scaling Up: To multiply the recipe, increase the oil and garlic in the same proportion, but the chiles by less than half as much again. For example, to triple the recipe, use 6 tablespoons oil, 3 tablespoons sliced garlic, and only 6 to 8 chiles.
This page created June 2008
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