A healthier take on Lao Gan Ma’s spicy chilli crisp

Sydney chef Dan Hong introduced me to Lao Gan Ma’s spicy chilli crisp and boy did I love it. Unfortunately my love for the MSG-ridden jar of goodness wasn’t reciprocated by my body, so it was only brought out on special occasions… think cheat days and such.

It wasn’t until I ate a dish featuring pickled chilli at Three Blue Ducks in Byron Bay that I was transported back to my love of spicy chilli crisp. So, I decided to give making my own version a shot.

Whenever I have a jar of this made, it’s forever on my mind. Thank you to my partner for never tiring of hearing me talk about it. And thank you also for not eating chilli so there’s more for me. I have a tendency to put it on everything… pizza, risotto, taco salad (this one is coming soon), braised chickpeas (still a work in progress) and it’s even great on plain rice.

The oil helps preserve it, but try to drain as much of it as you can before putting it on your plate. And it’s definitely worth going with whole peanuts as opposed to crushed peanuts. They’re my hot tips. Good luck!

Spicy peanut chilli crisp
Makes 1 1/4 cups

1 cup peanut oil
5 shallots, peeled
1 garlic bulb, cloves detached and peeled
1/2 c whole peanuts, shell and skin removed
1 tbsp sichuan pepper, ground
2 tbsp shiitake mushroom powder
1 1/2 c dried chillies, de-seeded (if you want it hot, keep the seeds but I recommend de-seeding to enjoy the flavour balance of all the ingredients)
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp salt

Blitz the shallots and garlic in a food processor. Set aside. Repeat for peanuts.

Heat the peanut oil in a saucepan on the stove. Once warm, add shallots and garlic and stir constantly until they start to lightly brown.

Add peanuts and cook a further 45 seconds.

Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well then let cool.

Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place and serve as a condiment on anything you like! This one keeps for 1-2 months… if you don’t eat it all first.



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