(But its still about chili)..
My career in the Navy took me completely around the world 5 1/2 times, but most of my time overseas was spent in the Western Pacific (WestPac) where I found many, many kindred souls who loved spicy foods. From Korean “Kim Chee” to their hot pickled radish, to eating “Yam Nui” in Thailand that surprised even MY taste buds – (I thought it was soup and didn’t realize one oriental spoon full was supposed to be used to season a whole bowl of rice)… I was in hog heaven over there and loved going to the local restaurants where “the natives ate”. Oh there were a few places that “messed with me” and tested my capacity for the “really hot stuff” – but generally when they saw me smiling after trying their “trick” hot stuff – I wound up making many friends.
I am no expert on “Asian Chili Peppers” – and many folks give credit to the Portuguese for introducing chili peppers into Asia (particularly China) in the first place – all I know is I LOVE it!
HOT Chili/bean sauce
It is ALL good and all welcome where I am concerned. There is no better way for me to REALLY enjoy some home made stir fry than to kick it up a notch with some good chili paste. (I actually like mine a little “oily”).
Our local Chinese “take out” has a “spicy broccoli and beef with shrimp” plate that is heaven. I dip the little pieces of beef in the hot oil/paste they provide, and the shrimp in hot oriental mustard. My idea of HEAVEN!
You can make a very passable chili oil/paste using crushed red peppers. I like the dried Mexican “chilis de arbol” – the same primary ingredient found in a good Mexican red salsa.
WARNING – if you use bare hands be very, very careful to wash them with hot, soapy water after handling ANY hot chili! I now use thin, rubber “throw away” gloves bought by the box from WalMart for this after a bad experience involving habaneros. (Live and learn?)
I get rid of the stems and tips, and “crush” them by tossing them in a blender for about 20 seconds or so. (YOU may want to spend some time removing seeds – I don’t bother). <evil grin>
At this point, you might want to reserve some of the dry crushed pepper flakes for your home made pizzas/etc.
Some folks will then add a tiny amount of water to some of the flakes and continue to blend until it makes a kind of paste – they just add a bit of salt and use it that way.. I prefer using hot oil and infusing the pepper “heat” into the oil.
All recipe amounts will vary depending upon how much you are making, and how “thick” you want your oil/paste – the results will be fine in the fridge for about a month – so you may not want to make too much in one batch.
1 cup peanut oil (you can replace with corn/veggie oil – I like peanut)
1/4 cup sesame sauce
1/2 to 2/3rds cup crushed red peppers (desired consistency – I use 2/3).
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder (this may be eliminated if you like)
On high, heat peanut oil until it starts to smoke, then reduce heat to medium. Add sesame sauce first, then rest of ingredients. Stir continuously for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let set for 1 hour.
Now it is decision time – if you like you can strain the mixture to produce a pretty good hot chili oil – I prefer to use it “as is” – jar it and refrigerate – remembering to put the date on the jar and a note to toss it after 1 month.
Keep this totally away from small children – it could ruin them for life.