Monday, October 20, 2008

Chile y Ajo En Aciete (Chili Garlic Paste)

This is my mother's friend's recipe whom is Mexican and lives in San Francisco. She loves spicy food, so she makes this really spicy blend of dry chili peppers, garlic, and olive oil which she carries in tiny glass bottles wherever she goes so she can add a little flame to whatever she's eating. She brought a large jar of this spicy concoction when she came down here to Los Angeles to visit her elderly mother and my mother LOVED it and has been in love with this sauce since our last visit from San Fran., so she finally decided to ask for the recipe.

Let me tell you, it is delicious, smokey, has hints of sweet garlic, and spiciness. You must like heat to appreciate this and once you make it, it can last for a long time (probably up to 6 months stored in a tight class container or whatever you have on hand: jar, glass bottle, glass bowl sealed well, Tupperware, etc.) You can leave it out, covered, on the table with tiny metal spoons as well for convenience.

You can use this as a condiment by adding a couple teaspoons or tablespoons to any meat stew or soup to give a smokey, slow cooked, robust spicy flavor. You can put a little on your food when eating the same way you would use a hot sauce. You can use it for every bite you eat as well! It could also be incorporated into marinades or even in Chinese stir fries that call for Chili Garlic Paste. Really, it can be used for so many things. Use your imagination.

-3 oz/85 grams of Chile Japones" (Dried Japanese Chiles, my mother used a medium bag, which is about 3 cups maybe? It had the ounces and grams written on it.)
-1 head of garlic (separate the cloves, peel them, and take off the tough bottom part)
-1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (a.k.a. E.V.O.O.)
-3/4-1 tablespoon salt (to taste, remember it's suppose to be a little salty because it's not meant to be eaten by the spoonfuls ha ha even though I do eat it that way sometimes!)
-1 tablespoon white vinegar (to make it last longer)

(1) If the dry chiles have stems then remove them. DO NOT WASH THEM IN WATER!!! Or just don't bother to make this! :)

(2) Heat the olive oil on medium heat until it's hot enough. Add the garlic cloves and stir them around until they are golden. Then add the dry chiles and stir them over and over again the until garlic is slightly browned on the outside and the chiles are toasted to a slightly darken color. DO NOT let them blacken completely or you'll have a bitter flavor. My mom lowered the temperature to medium low as she was doing this. The point of tossing the chiles and garlics over and over again is so that the garlic does not stick to the pot and trust me, when it sticks, it STICKS!!! This process takes about 10-15 minutes and once they are ready, take them off the heat for them too cool a bit before putting them in the food processor or blender.
(3) Add all the contents into a food processor or blender along with the vinegar and salt using a food processor. If you use a blender, you'll need to stop every now and then and stir or push with a spoon because of the sauce's thickness.

(4) Your done! Store well by sealing it. It can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge. Enjoy! You'll want to make more

P.S. I don't even know what to name this exactly. My mother's friend never used a specific name, it was just "El chile en aciete" which translates to "The chile in oil." For me, it's just a "Chile Garlic Paste." Sort of a little looser, but yeah, call it whatever you want :)

ALSO, you may use "Chile de Arbol" (Dried Arbol Chile Peppers) but my mother prefers using "Chile Japones" (Dried Japanese Chile Peppers) because she says, "No ay que quitarles la cola ni nada" which translates to, "You don't have to remove the tail/stems." The "Chile de Arbol" translates to "Chile of Tree."

Edited by: Travis Thi