new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Noah Wilson's (In) Famous Chili-Garlic-Ginger Paste

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Noah Wilson's (In) Famous Chili-Garlic-Ginger Paste

My friend Noah Wilson has submitted me his excellent recipe for Asian style chili-garlic-ginger paste. I speak for most of us by proclaiming "nom".

Noah's (In)Famous Chili-Garlic-Ginger Paste

Your cast of characters.

-1.5 tsp. each: *chilis*, *garlic* and *ginger*, finely minced

All fresh - no powders or pre-chopped/dried, etc.; the heat of the chilies is up to you... I prefer fresh cayenne with seeds in, or Italian cherry peppers, or Habaneros for big heat; the pics are with a good jalapeno, since it's winter and ripe chilies are hard to come by.

-approx 3/8tsp each: *honey* and *neutral oil*
(safflower oil is my fave - and if you measure/pour the oil first, the honey won't stick to your measuring spoon!)

-approx 1/8tsp each: *coarse sea salt*, *rice wine or cider vinegar*

Mortar and Pestle (if you've got a real, i.e. big, one) or a Food Processor

Prep garlic, ginger and chili pepper,
-really do be sure to finely mince them if using mortar and pestle; remember, when you're grinding by hand, life is a lot easier when you do the big stuff with a sharp knife and not a dull stone.

Place fresh ingredients into mortar or processor bowl, half at a time (or less if you're not a proficient grinder), with equivalent ratio of coarse sea salt. Grind until a rough paste begins to form. Note the presence of a thick potholder under the mortar and pestle in my pictures? There's a reason why - keeps the noise down, and the counter-tops unmarred.

Then add oil, honey and vinegar, and you will see the paste start to become creamy and well combined. Continue to grind until it is fairly homogeneous (see later pictures.) Taste for seasoning and adjust - more ginger, more garlic, more heat, more sweet, more salt, etc.

Eat immediately by the spoonful, on crusty bread, in your ramen, on your eggs, on your birthday cake... or save some for later in a glass jar in the fridge. Since there's a combination of garlic and oil going on here, botulism is a concern. Eat it within three days.

If you haven't managed to take care of business by then, just add it to a stir-fry, bowl of noodles, or salad dressing (great with chopped napa cabbage, carrots and radish, a-la kim-chee - just a little extra vinegar, salt and oil 'n you're golden.)

Add cilantro and cumin/coriander for a lovely Indian version; coconut milk, kaffir lime, fish sauce and lemon grass for a thai delight... have fun and experiment! Great with crusty semolina bread, on roasted veggies, on shrimp or fish... the possibilities are nigh well endless...