Friday, March 30, 2012

Red Chili Pound
Ngayothi Anee Thaung

This is one of my favorite condiments. It is called chili pound because traditionally each ingredient is deep fried separately and pounded using a Mortar & Pestle. Later it is mixed and pounded again. I usually make it two different ways depending on my mood.

First method is following traditional way but since I don’t own a good Mortar & Pestle, I just use my small food processor to do the job. This method gives you a nice smoky flavor end result.

Sometimes when I don’t want to fry or use food processor, I use pre-ground ingredients to make this. The good thing about this method is that it is easy and fast to make. The downside to this method is during the cooking process the fume of chili could be overwhelming at times. This gives less smoky flavor end result but I still like to make it every now and then.

I like to eat it along with Achin Hin (Sour Soup), Rice, Tomato Curry and some fried meat. You can also pair it with Dal and Rice by squeezing some lime juice in it before serving. This is a condiment so it is usually made spicier to be paired with other dishes. The spiciness will depend on the dried chilies used so adjust according to taste.

Red Chili Pound

Traditional Method

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

1 ounce Whole Dried Red Chili (use more or less depending on spiciness of dried chilies or taste)
7 cloves of Garlic
1/4 cup small to medium Whole Dried Shrimp
1 medium to large Tomato
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

  1. Fry each ingredient separately over medium low heat with few inches of oil.
  2. Fry dried chili until few shades darker and crisp. Fry garlic and dried shrimp until golden brown.
  3. Fry whole tomato for a minute or two turning few times to coat all sides of tomato until skin burst and peeled off.  Let cool, peel the skin off and cut in quarter.
  4. Using a food processor or mortar & pestle, grind each ingredient separately. Grind chili into crushed red pepper consistency, garlic into fine paste, dried shrimp into fine powder and lastly tomato into fine puree.
  5. Combine all ingredients in food processor, add salt to taste and pulse for few times for all ingredients to come together.
  6. Transfer to a small bowl and serve at room temperature.
Easy but Smoke Alarm Method

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

1 tablespoon Oil
1 tablespoon Garlic – crushed or finely chopped
1/4 cup Crushed Red Pepper
2 teaspoons Dried Shrimp Powder
1 medium Tomato – skin peeled and finely chopped
Salt to taste

  1. Heat a small skillet with oil over medium low heat. Add Garlic and stir for few seconds.
  2. Add crushed red pepper and while stirring cook for 1 minute or two until it gets few shades darker and fragrant.
  3. Add dried shrimp powder and continue cooking until lightly browned. Be careful not to burn it.
  4. Add tomato and cook stirring continuously for few minutes until all tomatoes are crushed and everything comes together. Turn off heat, transfer to a small bowl and serve at room temperature.
To make it Vegetarian or Vegan dish, skip on dry shrimp.

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