Fried Shallots & Shallot Oil (葱头油)
by wiffy on September 2, 2010
This is one of my favourite condiments which can be topped over almost any dish. I particularly love these fried shallots over plain porridge, fried rice or oyster sauce vegetables. I love them on its own as well – I can eat it as a snack. In my earlier attempts in deep frying the shallots, I burnt them, because I found out that even though deep frying shallots takes considerably longer than making garlic oil, the shallots go from light golden brown to golden brown really quickly. Hence you need to watch the flame very carefully especially during the second half of the cooking. Here is a step-by-step photo guide to show the various stages of cooking the shallots, but the actual timing will depend on the heat of your cooker. Generally, it takes about 12-15 minutes to cook the shallots.
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- 200g shallots (small onions, red or purple ones)
- 350ml vegetable/canola oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- slotted ladle
- fine sieve
- kitchen paper towels or tempura paper
Pre-heating the oil
Step 2: Heat oil to medium. You want the heat to be just right – not too low, other wise when you put the shallots into the oil, there will be no “reaction”; nor do you want the heat too high (else the shallots will burn very quickly). As you can see in the photo above, there are tiny bubbles which indicate that the oil is starting to be heated. You can add a small piece of shallot to test the heat before adding all of them.
1 minute of cooking
Step 3: When oil is heated, add sliced shallots. This is look of the shallots after adding them to the the oil for 1 minute. They are dancing and bubbling mildly in the oil so I turn up the heat up very slightly.
10 minutes of cooking
Step 4: At the 10 minute mark of cooking, you can see parts of the shallots browning. At this point in time, you have to give the shallots your fullest attention (no multi-tasking) because they can become burnt quite quickly from this point on.
12 minutes of cooking
Step 6: At this point in time, more than half the shallots have turned golden brown. This is where I turned off the stove – the shallots will continue for a few more minutes in the hot oil even with the stove heat off, until all the shallots turn a lovely golden brown. If you turn off the stove only when all the shallots have turned golden brown, they will cook further in the hot oil after the heat is turned off and become burnt as a result. Therefore, turn off the heat BEFORE all the shallots turn golden brown.
Straining the fried shallots
Step 7: When the fried shallots are cooked, separate the shallots from the oil using a slotted ladle. Blot out excess oil by draining the shallots on kitchen paper towels or tempura paper. Store the fried shallots in an airtight container in the fridge.
Filtering the oil
Step 8: Run the shallot oil through a fine sieve to get particle-free oil. This oil has been infused with the wonderful aroma of shallots. Keep it covered with lid and use it in your cooking and stir-fries – it adds a great flavour to your cooking.
Storage Tips (Various Methods)
1. Store fried shallots (excess oil blotted on kitchen paper towels) in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.
2. Store filtered shallot-infused oil in an airtight container or bottle and use it to add flavour in your cooking.
3. Store fried shallots soaked in shallot oil in a small container (pictured above). This combination is useful as a condiment for food such as oyster sauce vegetables and porridge. I usually keep this in the fridge so that it lasts longer. To use, simply place it at room temperature for about 20 minutes, where the solidified oil will become liquid again.
1. Slice the shallots thinly and uniformly to ensure even cooking.
2. Make sure the oil is pre-heated before you add the shallots. Add a small piece of shallot to test the heat – it should sizzle gently when it enters the oil.
3. You may need to adjust the stove heat every now and then to ensure optimal heat.
4. The actual time for cooking the shallots will depend on the heat of your oil – the above timings are only a suggestive guide. Do look out for the colour of the shallots instead of following the timing above strictly.
Ingredients Used shallot
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