[dropcap]Garlic,[/dropcap] ginger and shallot oil is a delicately fragrant and deliciously rich condiment with a multitude of uses – made simply by gently frying and stirring the three ingredients in cooking oil of your choice on low-medium heat. The following recipe results in two fabulous products – the heavenly infused oil and the crispy/crunchy medley of moreish fried garlic, ginger and shallot chips/crisps. This divine concoction is a luscious ingredient that can be added to a variety of recipes, including salads, or to garnish/finish-off dishes, including soups, congee, steamed seafood, etc.
The recipe is super simple, but also easy to ruin if you make haste and don’t keep an eye on it. Just remember to keep the heat low-medium, and to turn the heat off when the ingredients just turns brown, otherwise you’ll risk over-cooking and burning the fried pieces. The recipe can be modified if you choose to make just garlic oil, ginger oil, or shallot oil alone. I enjoy all of these three ingredients and think that they work harmoniously naturally, and by frying them together, their combined distinctive flavours are intensified.
In this recipe, you can optionally drain the crispy fried pieces from the oil and store and use them separately. The infused oil will work just fine without them, but I personally like to store and use them together for that magical blend of delicious delicate slippery-smooth oil and sweet unctuous fried mini chip crunch.
Dried/fried garlic, onion and shallot are popular ingredients in many Asian cuisine, and they’re readily available at most Asian stores. Whilst dried garlic, et al are conveniently available – by making your own, you’re able to create both the tasty fried crisps, as well as the infused oil which is not often easily available commercially, yet so wonderful to use. By making your own infused oil, you can also experiment and customize your blend to include whatever ingredient you please.
Both infused oil and fried garlic, onion and shallot are used regularly in Lao cuisine, either in recipes or to garnish dishes. Making infused oil and its complementary chips is a quick and easy process that can be made each time when required – however, I prefer to make a large quantity so that it can be stored and used whenever it is needed. The blend in this recipe is a personal choice and you can customize it to suit your palate. I particularly enjoy the fragrance and nuttiness of the oil and the bitter and sweet taste of the fried garlic and shallot pieces together. The use of infused oil and its crispy counterpart are quite limitless. It’s a moreish and addictive combination, so use it sparingly.
You can use any type of cooking oil for this recipe. I used a combination of sunflower oil and rice bran oil, simply because I enjoy the subtle nutty taste of sunflower oil (and the fact that it’s ideal for frying), and because I’ve never used rice bran oil before and wanted to try it. The rice bran oil imparts a lovely golden liquid amber hue to the blend, and the final infused ‘gar gin sha oil’ is delicately sweet, aromatic, and simply divine! Be sure to give this recipe a try and add this wonderful condiment to your pantry. You won’t regret it. smile
- 3 heads of garlic
- 1 medium-sized knob of ginger
- 4 Asian shallots
- 750 ml of cooking oil
- Break the garlic heads into cloves, then peal and slice the cloves into thin discs (optional - you can dice the garlic instead).
- Wash and peal the ginger, then slice it into thin julienne strips (optional - you can dice the ginger instead).
- Peal the Asian shallots, then slice them into thin discs. With your fingers, separate the discs into rings.
- In a frypan or wok, add the cooking oil and bring to low-medium heat. Add the sliced garlic, ginger and Asian shallots.
- Stir gently and regularly (be careful that the hot oil does not splatter on to you). Ensure that the oil is not too hot, otherwise the ingredients will burn quickly. Maintain the heat at about low-medium, or reduce it if the oil is too hot and it bubbles too heavily. What you want is a gentle bubbly simmer.
- Continue to stir regularly - don't let it out of your sight. When about half of the garlic and shallot pieces start to turn light brown, turn off the heat and continue to stir gently (the ingredients will continue to cook and darken after the heat is turned off).
- When the infused golden oil has cooled down, carefully transfer the mixture/liquid into a large air-tight glass jar. Store in a cool safe place.
- Enjoy with your favourite dishes and recipes, sparingly!smile