Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Toasted Chili & Garlic

If you will ask the Filipinos living here in Sri Lanka of what are the most common or prevalent ingredients in the Sri Lankan cuisine, chances are they will all mention two things – chili and curry. Well, this is also true even from the perspectives of the majority of other nationalities that we met here over the last five years; Japanese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Thai, British, Australian, Singaporean and Chinese. The reason is that hot and spicy curries are the favorite dishes of Sri Lankan for lunch and dinner. Their rice and curry meal actually refers to a very wide range of Sri Lankan dishes but generally serve with a huge amount of chili.

As as result of our constant exposures to hot and spicy foods, especially with their yummy egg roll and fish bun which I featured before, their really hot chicken curry and their delectable fried rice which they served with chili paste, we somehow accustomed our taste to slightly hot foods. A few of us now even enjoy chili paste in our ordinary foods. In an attempt to make chili paste suited to Filipino taste, I made toasted chili-garlic in lieu of the paste. This is a very versatile condiment which we use with many Filipino dishes whenever we want a kick in our foods.

It goes well with noodle soups (“mami” and “sotanghon”), rice porridge (“goto” and “arrozcaldo”), meat stews (“linaga”, “bulalo”, “tinola”, “sinigang”, “balbacua”, etc.), egg drop soup, macaroni soups (“sopas”) and other creamy soups (mushroom and carrots) and a perfect accompaniment of soy sauce and lemon for dipping sauce of “siomai” and other dumplings. The possibilities are endless. In fact, if you have fried egg or meat, just mix it with steamed rice and you will have instant garlic rice (without the oil).

Cooking it is very simple. You just need 2 head garlic, peeled, crushed and minced, about 100 grams chili pieces, some salt to taste, about 3 tbsp vegetable oil and if you wish some crumpled chicken cube seasoning.

In a thick pan, heat about 2 tbsp of oil on medium heat. Fry the garlic until slightly brown. Stir it regularly for even frying. Never ever allow it to get burn.

Add the chili pieces and continue frying. Add the rest of the oil and continue stirring. Half way through, add about a tsp of salt and the crumpled chicken cube (optional). Continue frying until everything is slightly crispy and aromatic.

Transfer to a plate and let it cool. Store it in a tightly covered jar for later use. Enjoy!!! c“, )

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