Cacao Chilli Crisp w/Noodles | Dark Chocolate Date Cookies (Rachel Khoo)

Recently, BBC studios contacted me about the possibility of trying some of Rachel Khoo’s recipes from her TV show, Chocolat, airing on UnifiTV and BBC Player.

I’d first experienced chocolate as a savoury ingredient when I tried MasterChef Malaysia judge Chef Johari Edrus’s Spicy Chocolate Pasta in Kuala Lumpur a few years back. It was delicious and I’d always meant to experiment with the use of chocolate in creative ways back here in Sydney, so this seemed like a good opportunity to do finally so.

I went Live on my Masters of Malaysian Cuisine platform in partnership with Facebook groups Apa Kau Rasa and Masak Apa Tak Jadi Hari Ni, and featured two recipes from Chocolat – Cacao Chilli Crisp Noodles, and Dark Chocolate and Date Cookies – the replay of which you can watch here >>

Cacao Chilli Crisp Noodles | Dark Chocolate & Date Cookies Live w/JackieM.

Here’s the recipe for Rachel’s cacao chilli crisp sauce (note that I’ve kept her formatting and abbreviations intact rather than adapt them to my own).

Re: the second recipe from the Live broadcast ie. the Dark Chocolate & Date Cookies, that’s available as a PDF which I’ll send to send to your inbox shortly if you sign up to the Masters of Malaysian Cuisine email list >> MalaysianChefs.com/JoinToday 

Cacao Chilli Crisp with Noodles and Pak Choi

Rachel: I’ve had a chilli crisp sauce a few times in various Chinese restaurants but it wasn’t until recently I actually knew it’s super easy to make it at home. It’s now become a must have ingredient in my fridge as it lends itself to putting on everything from fried eggs, cheese on toast, roasted veg, steamed fish…anything which is a bit dull and could do with a kick. Cacao nibs are not a traditional ingredient but they actually work extremely well they give the condiment a satisfying crunch (which peanuts do aswell but they go slightly soft when sitting in the fridge for too long) and depth in flavour.

INGREDIENTS: 

Makes 500g jar of chilli crisp
Preparation time 30 minutes
Resting time 30 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes
Diet: Vegan, GF

Ingredients for the chilli crisp

1 dried ancho chilli
1 dried chipotle chilli
3 tbsps Sichuan peppercorn
3 tbsps cacao nibs
60g salted peanuts
25g dried chilli flakes
2 tbsps sea salt flakes
2 tbsps caster sugar
30g fresh ginger
4 shallots
500g peanut oil

2 pak choy
150g Flat rice noodles
2 tbsp chilli crisp
2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce

To garnish:
Thinly sliced spring onions, thinly sliced chilli, thinly sliced radishes, julienned carrot

METHOD: 

Take the stem off the ancho and chipotle chilli and blitz with the Sichuan peppercorns in a spice grinder until a fine powder. Add this to a large heatproof bowl. If your cacao nibs are still rather whole then crush the cacao nibs in a pestle and mortar or use the spice grinder to blitz a little further. You want to retain a bit of their texture, like a chunky peanut butter. Do the same with the peanuts. Add both to the bowl with the chillies. Mix in the chilli flakes, sea salt and sugar.

Peel the fresh ginger using a spoon and then slice into 2mm slices. Cut the slices into 2mm matchsticks that are roughly a centimeter long. Add these to the bowl.

Peel the shallots and finely slice into 2mm thick slices. Add them to a large pot with the oil. Place this on a medium hot heat. Stir continuously until the shallots start to get a light golden colour. Use a slotted spoon to remove the shallots and place into a separate bowl. Take the oil off the heat and pour it into the bowl with the chillies. Be careful as the oil will bubble up (that’s why it’s important to use a large bowl) and gently stir so not to get any splashes of hot oil on yourself. Leave to cool for 30 minutes before adding the crisp shallots. Once the mix is completely cool you can add them to a jar and keep in the fridge. It’ll keep for a month.

To serve:
Halve the pak choy, add to a non-stick frying pan cut side down with drizzle of oil. Allow to heat up and once it sizzles cover and cook for 3-5 minutes until the pack choy is soft.

Cover the noodles with boiling water in a heatproof bowl and allow to soak until soft (or prepare according to the directions on the packet). Drain, rinse with cold water and add to the frying pan. Remove from the heat and toss together with the chilli crisp, vinegar and soy sauce. Dish up into 2 bowls and serve with your choice of garnishes.

Top tip
This condiment isn’t very spicy and goes well in loads of different dishes.
You can stir it into noodles with vinegar and soy sauce for a simple dressing.
Use it in salad dressings or for seasoning steamed vegetables.
Add to stir fries. Spoon over noodle soups.
Drizzle over fried eggs or scrambled eggs for an easy way to make breakfast more interesting.
Spoon into tacos, drizzle on hummus or pizza, mix with mayo + spread on your burger bun
Mix up the spicing here to fit your flavour preferences. You can add more spicy chilli flakes/ use different types of dried chillies for more heat and different flavours. You can add things like fennel seed, star anise, cinnamon stick, cardamom, cumin seeds for a different flavour profile. You can also fry sliced garlic in the oil until golden for a garlic hit.
Using a mandoline to slice the shallots helps make them uniform thickness (so they all fry at the same rate/don’t burn) and is a super easy way to cut them quickly.

Get ahead
You can make the chilli crisp ahead of time and store in a jar in the fridge for up to one month.

This makes a lot of chilli crisp so it’s great to make a big batch and divide into smaller jars to gift to people.


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