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Sauces and Condiments

Dandan sesame sauce

Dandan sesame sauce
Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Anyone who's ever worked with me in the kitchen knows that I like to tinker with dishes for a while before I decide to finally offer them on the menu. But then once I've gotten them where I want them ... Read more

Total time: 35 minutes | Makes about 1 quart

Shallot-chile jam

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 pound shallots, peeled and sliced into very thin rounds
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Powdered red chile, to taste

Step 1In a heavy-bottomed saute pan, combine the oil and shallots over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots soften and start to color, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the sugar and continue to cook until the shallots are caramelized, an additional 10 to 15 minutes. If the shallots begin to dry out, drizzle over a little water to moisten. Remove from heat and add a pinch of powdered red chile, or to taste; the final "jam" should be a mixture of sweet (from the shallots and sugar) and heat (from the chile).This makes about one-half cup jam.

Dan dan sesame base

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons (¾ ounce) minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon (¼ ounce) minced ginger
  • Heaping ¼ cup (2½ ounces) shallot-chile jam
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 ounces) shaoxing wine
  • Heaping ¾ cup (4¼ ounces) toasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5¾ ounces) sesame paste
  • 1 tablespoon plus scant 1 teaspoon (5/8 ounce) dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (½ ounce) light soy sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Ground white pepper
  • Salt

Step 1In a large sauté pan heated over medium-high heat, add the peanut oil, garlic, ginger and shallot-chile jam. Cook until aromatic and the mixture begins to form a fond (flavor base) at the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with the shaoxing wine, scraping the flavoring from the base of the pan, then pour the mixture into the bowl of a blender.

Step 2Puree the mixture with the peanuts, sesame paste, dark and light soy sauces and chicken broth (do not overfill the blender; this can be done in batches and combined).

Step 3Pour the sauce back into the sauté pan and simmer the sauce (careful not to boil or burn) for 10 to 15 minutes to cook out the raw garlic and ginger flavor. Season to taste with pepper and salt. The sauce will thicken as it cools; loosen with a little water before using. The sauce will keep for up to 1 week, covered and refrigerated.


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