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Hot Chile Paste

  • SERVINGS: MAKES ABOUT 3/4 CUP
  • FAST
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • VEGETARIAN

There is no single chile paste (lajiao 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. 1 cup loosely packed dried red chiles (1 ounce), rinsed
  2. 3/4 cup boiling water
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 teaspoon sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  6. 1/4 cup minced shallots
  7. 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or rice vinegar
  1. 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.
  2. Transfer the chiles and their soaking liquid to a blender and puree. Blend in the salt and sugar.
Make Ahead The chile paste can be refrigerated for up to 3 months.
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