Chinese chili oil
From another thread I posted this, I figure I may well as make it its own post. At the very least it will be more easily googled.
The context is, I don't know where to get/buy chili oil as good as that at Shanghai Bun in Matawan, NJ.:
Yeah, whenever I buy bottled chili oil, it's always got too many other flavors (other than just chili) to be as good as what they serve at shanghai bun. I've decided finally to just make my own, not going to include any alliums or ma-la pepper or peanuts, just chiis. Part of what I think makes shanghai bun's so good is they toast the peppers first, so I'm going to do that to a portion of my peppers.
I found cheap dried peppers at International food warehouse in Lodi - $10 for a vacuum packed 4 lb brick.
I'm going to do and recommend, for long term storage (since I prefer to have a lot at first and use slowly, I won't use it so dang much like a restaurant, it;s just me), toast some of the peppers to darken, process into chunks, put in jar then pour in PEANUT oil (lasts the longest) and get solids/oil ratio you want, then pour that all back out into pot, heat to NO MORE than 300 degrees farenheit. Heating to higher than that/when the oil smokes quickly starts oxidizing and rancidizing the oil. Wait till oil gets red, then of course pour back into jar, and part of the process will be waiting a week and letting it all soak and get the flavor. Buy vitamin E capsules, the kind that is a clear coating around the oil, pierce and drop in some of the oil into each jar. The vitamin E will act as a preservative. How many capsules? I don't know, and I don't think I care to do a calculation.
OK, so I made it the other day finally.
I didn't need the huge brick of peppers I bought, didn't need that mmuch peppers period. The three little bags I had bought before I finally found cheap bulk peppers was enough.
I made it in the method I said above. And like I said it was very much like Shanghai Bun's chili oil, clean tasting, none of the strong off flavors from garlic or peanuts or whatever. And I was definitely right about one of the elements that makes Shanghai Bun's so good was the roating of the pepers before hand.
My only mistake was I roasted too many of the peppers. I roasted two whole bags out of the three, when what I was going for and what probably would have tasted better is more like 1/3 or 1/4 of the peppers roasted. Now the oil has too much of the "roasted" flavor and not ebnough of the straight "red" pepper flavor.
But anyway it tastes pretty damned good. I went with a buddy to Petite Soo Chow in Cliffside Park, NJ, for chinese breakfast and brought it with me (along with a bottle of sriracha). He said it was awesome, and I was quite enjoying it with our hot chinese pastries. I would put it on the Shanghai style bun, then sprinkle some sugar on that, and then eat it. Awesome, like candy.
re: c oliver
well, if I were to guess, I'd say it's some style of mantou, but it didn't have the typical two-folds shape. On the menu there was the option of steamed or fried. We got fried, but inside the texture was still like steamed - in other words, it never gets to bread-like and stays moist and chewy. It was a large loaf, like a shorter (maybe 8-10"?) fatter baguette. Like I said, inside was moist and chewy, but full of convolutions where I guess the chef kneaded and folded over and over again