Friday, January 11, 2019

RECIPE: China Moon Chili Orange Oil, Healthy

Barbara Tropp's The China Moon Cookbook is my go-to book for Chinese-inspired cuisine.  It's not traditional Chinese, it's her take on it as it was served in her restaurant, China Moon Cafe.  Every recipe I've made from this book has been spot-on and delicious!

My favorite recipes are the seasoning oils and vinegars which are useful for all cuisines, not only Chinese, and this one is the best of that bunch!  We adore this on steamed veggies and pasta.  And now, winter, is the best time to make it because oranges are in season!

Original Recipe: China Moon Chili Orange Oil

The original recipe uses corn or peanut oil, which we now know are toxic, so I make it with EVOO or unrefined organic safflower oil .  The recipe can be halved but I've found that it's very hard to monitor the temperature of the oil with smaller amounts.

I've also replaced the Chinese black beans since I could not find any I trusted to be contaminant-free.

China Moon Chili Orange Oil, Upgraded
Makes 3 cups

3 large or 4 small organic* oranges with unblemished skin (I used blood oranges)
1/2 c. organic** red chili flakes (I used 35k from Starwest-Botanical)
3 T. organic Miso (I used South River Azuki Bean Miso)
1 T. organic Tamari  (I use South River Azuki Bean Tamari)
6 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 cups EVOO or  unrefined organic safflower oil
1/4 c. toasted sesame oil (in a glass bottle.  I use Eden Foods, or Spectrum)

Wash the oranges with liquid detergent and and warm water, then scrub them with an abrasive sponge.  Don't skip this step - it releases the oils in the skin.  Remove the zest with a sharp vegetable peeler.  Make sure you remove only the zest (the orange part) and not the white pith underneath it.  Mince the zest.  I ended up with about 2 T.

Combine the zest with the remaining ingredients in a small (1 quart) saucepan and, using a deep-fry thermometer to measure the temperature, heat to 220F over med heat.  Reduce the heat to maintain the temperature at no more than 225F for 15 minutes.  (I use a Thermoworks instant read Thermapen, visible in the photo below.)
Gently bubbling, not boiling.

Remove from heat and let stand until cool.

It was hard to capture the beautiful color of the oil - it's not quite as red as it appears here.

Transfer the oil AND THE SOLIDS to a glass container, cover and store at cool room temperature.  I store mine in Miron glass.  The best part of this oil is the solids, known as GOOP, so choose a container that enables you to retrieve them with a spoon.  Use this oil (and the solids) over steamed broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, or green beans.  Stir it into meatloaf or meatballs, or use it to sauce noodles, rice (including risotto), or white beans. 

Green Beans (on the left) and Broccoli (on the right)
Chicken and Asparagus Risotto (without lovage) and Chile Orange Oil

*Please use organic oranges, since you'll be using the peel which is the most contaminated part.
**Please use organic peppers, they're on the Dirty Dozen list.

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