It was almost 2 weeks since I prepared this batch of crispy fried shallots and it is still crispy in air tight container.. What is so big deal about these crispy fried shallots? Is it not just shallots fried in oil and every Tom Dick and Harry will know how to deep fry？.
I am one of the Tom Dick and Harry and when I just entered the kitchen 10 years ago, I failed terribly …The shallots are oily and not crispy. Theory is easy but practically you need some pointers which I will share later. I cannot say my way of doing it fool proof but you can use it as a guideline..
Minced garlic shallots, crispy fried shallots and shallot oil to me are the three fundamental items that must be kept in a Chinese kitchen that is “in operation”. Note that not all kitchens are functional, many families do not cook daily meals. If you are cooking daily meals, I would advise you to have these 3 basic items in your kitchen to expedite your cooking process and churning an aromatic meal for your family..
At the age of 10 onwards, every day, I have to peel almost 2-4 rice bowls full of shallots for the family.. We have a house business and we need crispy fried shallots everyday. Then, my role is just help to peel the shallots the day before and i am rather insensitive to onions and shallots. I did not use extra protection and even until today, i can peel it very fast with minimum wastage.. Therefore, I am not able to help how to ward you from tear dropping when peeling shallots.
I remembered that on the next morning, my late mum would sliced the shallots in a super fast speed that until today, I cannot pick up that skills…Her shallots were very uniformly thin. My eldest brother would then deep fried the shallots .. The shallots was crispy and we used in rice cakes..
Honestly, though I grew up in an environment that we used crispy fried shallots daily, I did not acquire the skills from my late mum.. I did some researches, trial and error until I am confident enough to share this recipe. Prior to that, i have used store bought shallots and what “amazed” me is these crispy fried shallots are really crispy and never seems to go soft even if I forgot to close the lid of the container…That make me wonder what is used in the preparation.. Another reason is the price of crispy fried shallots has escalating over the years, and I think it is time to have some home made fried shallots ..
There are 3 parts on the recipe and they are interrelated. You can buy a package of shallots and use some of minced shallot, shallot oil and the other half for crispy fried shallots. Minced shallots and garlics are usually used in sautéing of Chinese stir fry dishes. My experience is it keeps very well (until months) if both your shallots and garlics are dry before blending. As for the shallot garlic oil, it keeps a long time too and good to drizzle on vegetable dishes that need not sautéing or soup.
For me, I always used lard in deep frying shallots. I have been using lard in my cooking in recent years as lard is now proven a better choice than palm oil or other cooking oil. In addition, it can withstand much higher heat. If you notice, cooking oil tends to have smoke if it is cooked using high heat but not lard. Higher temperature of cooking will translate to a crispier deep fried shallots. In addition, it has a special aroma. Of course the choice is up to readers. If you are interested in how to extract lard for home cooking, you can refer to this post: Homemade Lard–Water Boiling Method (水煮猪油）
WHAT IS REQUIRED
- Some shallots *
- Some lard or cooking oil **
- Some garlics ***
- Some rice flour (optional)
* Personally experience tells that the oblong or oval shape shallots with lighter colour skin are more aromatic than those in the picture but it is less commonly sold.
** The general rule is 1 cup of shredded shallots will need 1 cup of cooking oil of your choice
*** For minced shallots garlic and shallot oils, I usually used the same quantity of garlics and shallots
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Peel the shallots and rinse if preferred. If you wash the shallots, you must air dry them before the slicing.
- Slicing the shallots thinly either using machine or a sharp knife. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE SHALLOTS THICKNESS IS THE SAME otherwise you will have a hard time of deep frying as some can get burnt yet others are not ready. The thickness is up to individual but recommended thickness is about 2 mm. As long as all the shredded shallots are of the same thickness, it is okay as thicker shallots will take a longer time to deep fry and the thinner shallots will take a shorter time.
- If time permits, it is recommended that the shredded shallots be transferred to an airy baskets and let it air dry or sun dry for 1-2 hours before deep frying. But this step is optional.
- For every cup of shredded shallots, put one tablespoon of rice flour, dust it and ensure all the shallots are coated with rice flour. Sieve away the excess flour. This will enhance the crispiness of the fried shallots as rice flour will absorb excess moisture.
- Heat up a pot of lard or oil under high heat, put a piece of the shallots and if it floated upwards, the temperature is ready.
- Put in all the shallots and reduce the heat to medium. Deep fry the shredded shallots under medium heat until it is almost golden brown. Constant stirring is required and it will take about 15 minutes (depending on heat and thickness). Before dishing out, increase the heat to high again and deep fry for one minutes to force out any oil trapped. Quickly drain and transfer the deep fried shallots on a piece of kitchen towel. The shallots will continue to darken during the process of cooling.
- Once it cools, store it in an air tight container immediately. (Note that when you dish out, the shallot may be soft but when it is cool, it will harden and become crispy). Otherwise, it will turn soft again as moisture are absorbed back to the crispy fried shallots.
- In the event that your deep fried shallots are not crispy, to salvage the situation, either deep fry again or bake in the oven at 100 degree Celsius for 10 minutes. The shallots will become less oily and crispy.
- Peel the garlics and shallots and use a food processor to blend it until the coarseness that you want. Personally, I do not like it to be overly fine as after cooking, it will turn very ugly like dirt and get burnt very easily. So I usually blend until 1 mm cubes like. You can omit shallots or garlics up to individual’s needs.
- Store in an airtight container and store in the fridge. My experience is that these can be stored for months but use a clean spoon every time you take out the desired portion. It is also wise to set aside a specific container for these minced garlic shallots as the smell will stay in the container even after you washed it for the first few times.
- Heat up the oil in a wok (oil almost the same quantities as minced garlic). Use medium heat oil to stir fry the minced shallots garlic. Constant stir frying is needed to ensure even colour.
- Once the ginger garlics turn LIGHT BROWN, increase the heat to high and deep fry for another one minute. Off the heat and once it cools completely, transfer to an air tight container (glass bottle preferred). This oil is good for noodle dishes or drizzling onto soup. Remember that the remaining heat after you off the heat will continue to deep fry until it cool completely and the it will darken once cooled.
If your kitchen are operating, I would advise all to learn to prepare these items to expedite the meal preparation process. There is only one thing I have to highlight: for both shallot oils and deep fried crispy shallots, THE COLOUR WILL CONTINUE TO DARKEN for at least one tone and therefore, you have to dish out earlier and cannot wait until it is golden brown like those you brought from the stores. The deep frying will continue during the process of cooling. To ensure crispiness, I still recommended you use lard to deep fry as the temperature will be much higher. Once it is cooled, put and air tight container and you can salvage the failed attempt (not already burnt) by baking in the oven. Lastly, remember practises make perfect and do not be deter if it a failed first attempt..
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