Total time: 25 minutes, plus cooling time
Servings: This makes about 1½ cups
Note: Adapted from "China Moon Cookbook" by Barbara Tropp.
1/3 cup dried red chile flakes
3 tablespoons fermented black beans, unrinsed and coarsely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, slightly crushed
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups canola oil
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1. In a small saucepan, combine the chile flakes, fermented black beans, garlic, ginger, canola and sesame oils. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat until a thermometer inserted (a clip-on candy thermometer works well) reaches about 220 degrees Fahrenheit; the oil will simmer and gently sizzle. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes to infuse the flavors; reduce the heat as needed to keep the temperature below 250 degrees.
2. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the cooled oil and solids to a glass jar and store in a cool space. The oil mellows after several days and will keep for months.