Chopped salted chiles

01Apr08

chopped salted chilesBeing in a Chinese cooking mood, I decided to try out this staple of the Hunan kitchen: salted chiles (剁辣椒, duo lajiao). These chiles are supposed to go on steamed fish dishes, or accompany noodles and other treats. But buying them from a jar in the Chinese store might not get you the right stuff (buying Hunanese produce might prove challenging); on the other hand, it might turn out these chopped salted chiles are just like store-bought, only I have to wait now for (Fuchsia says) ‘ a couple of weeks’.

It has been one week now since I went to the market and bought 300 grams of fresh red chiles and cut them up, trying not to rub them so as to avoid eye sore later on. For 300 grams of chiles, you need 1/8 cup of salt. Fuchsia Dunlop makes 500 grams, but since I think I might be the only one in the house eating them anyway, I bought a little less.
After cutting them up coarsely, mix them with half of the salt and put them in a glass jar. Then cover with the remaining salt, shut the lid tightly, put in the fridge, and wait.

Wait. And wait some more. I dreamt about tasting these chile peppers, which is strange, because I hardly dream about food (I am mostly traveling and changing platforms in my dreams). But anyway, I tried them and they were very mellow-tasting, and I remember expressing surprise about this fact in my dream. When I woke up I smiled, knowing this is very probably not going to happen! I anticipate them to be fiercely hot.

But who knows ?!?… I have to wait 2 more weeks at least before I can tell you how they turned out.



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