Lao Gan Ma - Crispy Chilli in Oil

@Harters No more Lao Gan Ma condiment on our lunch table at home yesterday - what a relief. :joy: :joy: :joy:
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In Singapore/Malaysia, each dish already has its own specific condiment/dip - you can’t substitute those without jeopardizing the balance of flavors of the dish, e.g. jiu hu char with sambal belacan; lor bak with chili cuka, etc.
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Oh, I think that’s much better to have specific condiments. Otherwise, it all gets a bit, erm, generic.

I’ve promised myself dinner from the local Chinese takeaway, in the next few days. They don’t do much by way of dim sum - only har kau, sui mei and char sui bao - but it’ll be enough to test the Lao Gan Ma as a dip.

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Those are 3 of the ‘Big 4’ items in a dim sum meal (the 4th item is the pork-&-century-egg rice congee, not a big thing among Westerners), so your local Chinese takeaway has it well-covered.

Well, I finally got round to opening the jar. Had a taste - didnt think it vile and certainly not as much chilli heat as I feared it might have. Ordered my home delivery from one of the three Chinese takeaway places in the village. Har kau, sui mai and spring rolls (no congee - I don’t think I’ve seen it on a menu, even in Chinatown). Thinned down some Lao Gan Ma with a little dark soy, to get a dipping sauce consistency. I thought it was fine with the dim sum. I also scattered a little over plain steamed rice. Not something I’m going to rave over but I’ll certainly keep the jar.

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You’re handing it better than I did, John! :joy:

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It is pretty famous now. However, it is really average stuff.

Well, I do like your photo.

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I just bought a bottle of Wuju brand chili crisp and I’m on the fence. It’s tasty, but heavy on oil and light on crisp. No sugar, which is nice - hard to find this condiment without. Also fairly pronounced Sichuan peppercorn flavor, which I like but don’t want in everything.

My last jar was SB brand and I think I prefer it, despite the fact that it is less spicy. Lots more crispy bits! I plan to try LGM - it wasn’t on the shelf the last time I went to Hmart so may have to hit up Amazon.

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The SB Brand is pretty popular. Funny enough, I bought many SB sauce except this one. I will give it a try. It is a little more expensive, but looks good.
The SB Brand has the regular version (the one you have in your post) and the version with Sichuan peppercorn (which you probably won’t like then)

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I bought the Lao Gan Ma version that is chile with fermented black bean. It is my new favorite thing!

I also have Fly By Jing chile crisp in the house, which we love. It has a wide variety of flavoring components in it beyond chiles and oil. I like the fermented black beans they use in the Lao Gan Ma better though, because they are softer.

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I do like Sichuan peppercorns, but I feel their presence makes the condiment less versatile. I don’t mind having two jars open, though- one with and one without gives me the best of both worlds!

Ooh, that sounds good. Will keep an eye out fir it on my next Hmart run!

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I bought that for the first time out of desperation during the depths of the pandemic and there was a LGM chili crisp shortage at HMart. It has become a staple now at chez digga.

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I’ve got the SB crunchy garlic but haven’t opened it yet.

My favorite is LGM with mushroom, but I have to stop buying it because it goes bad even in the fridge (fungus blooms on top of the oil, go figure).

Meanwhile, all the other LGMs are in the cabinet, not refrigerated, and fine.

Have you tried the TJ’s chilli oil? It’s not asian, but it’s delicious. Lots of crunchy stuff. I use it when I don’t want MSG or Sichuan peppercorn or some other flavor mixed in.

Also excellent and multi-purpose is their fermented Calabrian chile sauce (which I stockpile because I couldn’t find it ONCE).

What I would really love to find is a home version of Ippudo’s “secret” chilli paste.

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I’m late to this party.

@digga how do you use it most?
Noticed @biondanonima mentioned adding it to scrambled eggs. I’ll try it on my fried egg sandwich this morning.

I also love it on tofu (grilled or fried) and shirataki noodles. It’s great on plain grilled/roasted meats, too, especially lean things like chicken breast or pork tenderloin.

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I make the NYT version at home on a regular basis. Having read through all the posts here just now, I’m curious about (and a fan of) MSG. When would you add it - before heating or after?

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“Dried minced onion from the supermarket spice aisle is a shortcut for the usual step of frying fresh minced onion, and it improves the crispness, too”.

Yes! I feel vindicated!

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Yes, dried onions work great here. Just be careful and watch closely. The first time I made it I learned the dried onions can go from “crisp” to “burnt to a crisp” in the blink of an eye.

I’ve also learned that if you make a batch, and figure out only later you pulled it off a few seconds to soon and it’s not quite as crisp as you would like it, you can reheat the finished product, even with the sugar in it. A few seconds of additional simmering will crisp the whole mixture right up.

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This is going to sound weird, and it’s probably because it is weird, but Lao Gan Ma is great as a topping on plain Greek yogurt.

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