This recipe is from “Power Vegetables!” and is the one recommended by Kevin Penner. The recipe I tried is too funky; the ingredients for this one are more accessible. You will simply have to order the dried shrimp and scallops online or take a toot to Chinatown. Most recipes call for rehydrating the fish, but this one does not.
Makes one generous cup.
1 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
3/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
1 Tbsp. flour
21/2 tsp. chipotle powder
1 Tbsp. dried baby shrimp, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. dried scallops, roughly chopped
2 tsp. sesame seeds
3 Tbsp. almonds, toasted and finely chopped
1 Tbsp. fried garlic, optional (a purchased product, akin to fried shallots)
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
Combine canola, sesame oil, onion, and flour in high-sided pot. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until the onion turns golden and “puffs,” 15 to 20 minutes.
Add chipotle powder, shrimp, scallops, sesame seeds, almonds, fried garlic, soy sauce, sugar, and salt. Increase heat and bring to simmer. Cook gently until the shrimp and scallops turn the deep golden color of the onions, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional three minutes. The sauce will be an oily alliance of little bits, many of which will have taken on the color of the chili powder. Remove from heat and cool. This keeps for weeks.
China Moon Chili-Orange Oil
This condiment lasts forever and is good on just about everything. I love it with dumplings and string beans.
Makes about 21/2 cups.
3 large oranges, scrubbed clean
1/2 cup pungently hot chili flakes
3 Tbsp. Chinese black beans (I use black bean paste, easier to find)
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups corn or peanut oil
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
Using a microplaner, zest the three oranges. Or you can peel and mince the skins, just don’t get any pith.
Combine the zest with other ingredients in a heavy, nonaluminum two-quart saucepan. Heat until bubbling lightly and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool.
The goop is the best part!
This is more of a guideline than a recipe for papdi chaat.
30-40 small papadums, fried or baked
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 cups cooked waxy potatoes, diced
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup diced onion (Vidalias are good)
3/4 cup tamarind or mango chutney
3/4 cup cilantro chutney
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup sev or other Indian snack food mix
Toss a bunch of papadums in a bowl or on a plate. Top with chickpeas, potatoes, tomatoes, and onion. Drizzle to taste with the two chutneys and yogurt. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of sev on top.