Fiery Love Affair

For a spicy gift that will really set your Valentine’s heart aflame, skip the chocolates this year in favor of a more fiery expression of adoration. Chili crisp is the all-purpose condiment that makes every dish irresistible, even if it’s just a bowlful of plain white rice. Heck, you could spoon it over scoops of vanilla ice cream for dessert with equal success, too.

It’s not just for heat seekers hell-bent on toeing the line between pain and pleasure. Aromatics blend in a delicate balance of nuanced flavors, far more complex than your average hot sauce. Satisfying bites of garlic and shallot define the uniquely crunchy texture, while cinnamon, anise, and ginger, create a symphony of complex seasoning.

Ubiquitous in specialty grocers and online, Lao Gan Ma, (老干妈) or “old godmother” is the brand to beat. This simple red labeled jar has dominated the market since its inception in 1997. Cheap, accessible, deeply satisfying across the board; it’s the gold standard that’s hard to beat. That said, anything homemade always has an edge over the competition.

I’m far from the first to take a DIY approach to chili crisp, nor can I claim to have reinvented the concept. I didn’t even rewrite the recipe. Rather, I took a page from Bon Appetit and would implore you to do the same. Show someone you really care by going the extra mile to make a superlative spicy Valentine this year. The best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, and this one will really set their passion ablaze.

10 thoughts on “Fiery Love Affair

  1. I’ve never thought about making it myself. And now I probably won’t. Ever since I had to deal with thumb surgeries, I’ve come across some really high quality shortcut products, like garlic oil and red sauce. They save on chopping, which still hurts! I bought a Momofuku chili crisp the same day a friend brought me a Trader Joe’s chili onion crisp. And you’re right, I’ve spread it on everything! And I need to buy more! It’s so perfect I think I’ll keep buying it. But great post!

    1. I didn’t realize you could order chili crisp direct from Momofuku! With that sort of resource, the DIY approach would definitely be a hard sell. There’s no wrong way to get your fix and it’s good to have options anyway!

    1. Oh yes, yes indeed! It’s a good opportunity to teach proper hygiene, and why you don’t touch your eyes before washing your hands… ;)

  2. Oh how I would love that! I am addicted to chili sauce, and I make regularly Sichuan chili oil, but I have to try this one too one day.

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