That addictive chili paste @ dim sum... [moved from Manhattan board]
At dim sum restaurants (I'm thinking Manhattan's Chinatown; can't comment on others), there are usually little bottles of vinegar and soy sauce, and small containers of sambal, and some sort of course, oily-looking chili paste.
Does anybody know what that coarse/oily/chili mixture is called, or better yet how to make it? It looks simple enough (chili and oil) but tastes so nutty and complex, and strangely is not too spicy.
To avoid confusion: not talking about any variety of sambal... perfectly happy with my Huy Fong jars :-)
Unfathomable appreciation to anybody who can help!!!
In my experience, there are usually two versions of the condiment. The one on the table in a steel top covered glass jar with spoon is usually chili oil with seeds and other ingredients as others have described. The second version is, or is similar to a product made by:
Huy Fong Foods, Inc.
501 Earle Ave.
Rosemead, CA 91770
This information is taken directly from the container/jar. It's called Chili Garlic Sauce. The ingredients are:
Chili,Salt,Garlic, Distilled Vinegar and preservatives
This product is sold in every Asian Grocery Store I have ever been to in the New York and New Jersey area. It has a distinctive GREEN cap on all the jars.
I see you originally pposted this on the NY board so I will make it simple for you, head to Bo KY on Bayard. They sell jars of the stuff. It is the chunky kind with more than just dried chilils in it. There are peanuts, some dried seafood, etc... I think this is what you are looking for.
My friend's dad is a chef at a chinese restaurant where they make their chili oil in house. We walked in to the kitchen to say hi and saw him dumping hot oil over what looked like a bunch of dried chili peppers. Upon further inquiry, he said he had also added ground szechuan peppercorns and some five spice powder. Their chili oil is the chili oil I rate all other chili oils by...
Try this recipe. It'll give you a great starting point to tweak until you get it exactly how you want it. (Skip the shrimp paste and use the dried shrimps. I think the shrimp paste is great if you actually do end up using the recipe for it's intended result, bun bo hue, but otherwise ...)
On the other hand, so many restaurants don't make their own, so you may be better off going to an Asian supermarket and picking up a jar of the stuff.