Dandan sesame sauce
35 minutes. Makes about 1 quart
3 tablespoons oil
1 pound shallots, peeled and sliced into very thin rounds
1/4 cup sugar
Powdered red chile, to taste
In a heavy-bottomed saute pan, combine the oil and shallots over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots soften and start to color, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the sugar and continue to cook until the shallots are caramelized, an additional 10 to 15 minutes. If the shallots begin to dry out, drizzle over a little water to moisten. Remove from heat and add a pinch of powdered red chile, or to taste; the final "jam" should be a mixture of sweet (from the shallots and sugar) and heat (from the chile).This makes about one-half cup jam.
Dan dan sesame base
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons (¾ ounce) minced garlic
1 teaspoon (¼ ounce) minced ginger
Heaping ¼ cup (2½ ounces) shallot-chile jam
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 ounces) shaoxing wine
Heaping ¾ cup (4¼ ounces) toasted peanuts
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5¾ ounces) sesame paste
1 tablespoon plus scant 1 teaspoon (5/8 ounce) dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon (½ ounce) light soy sauce
2 cups chicken broth
Ground white pepper
1. In a large sauté pan heated over medium-high heat, add the peanut oil, garlic, ginger and shallot-chile jam. Cook until aromatic and the mixture begins to form a fond (flavor base) at the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with the shaoxing wine, scraping the flavoring from the base of the pan, then pour the mixture into the bowl of a blender.
2. Puree the mixture with the peanuts, sesame paste, dark and light soy sauces and chicken broth (do not overfill the blender; this can be done in batches and combined).
3. Pour the sauce back into the sauté pan and simmer the sauce (careful not to boil or burn) for 10 to 15 minutes to cook out the raw garlic and ginger flavor. Season to taste with pepper and salt. The sauce will thicken as it cools; loosen with a little water before using. The sauce will keep for up to 1 week, covered and refrigerated.
Protein 1 gram
Carbohydrates 2 grams
Fat 2 grams
Saturated fat 0
Sugar 1 gram
Sodium 60 mg
NOTE: Powdered red chile, shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce (thicker and less salty than light soy) and light soy sauce (thinner and saltier, with lighter flavor) can be found at Chinese and most Asian markets.