Barry Foy was thrilled to discover that the simple chopped chiles preserved in salt that he made to use in Hunanese recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook cross culinary divides East and West: They lend heat, spark, and zing, with a nice bit of fruitiness and color, to whatever you add them to, and you can vary the heat level and flavor profile depending on what kind of chiles you use. Indeed, says Barry, they are “the universal condiment.” They’re great for picking up a bland dish, and give a fresher flavor than hot sauce or chile powder would. Barry’s used them in mayonnaise, rice pilaf, and homemade kielbasa, as well as Chinese dishes, and says his fridge will never be without a jar.

Here’s how to make them: Wash 1 pound very fresh hot red chiles (Barry used Fresnos) and dry thoroughly. Remove stems and bottom tips, and chop coarsely, including seeds. In a bowl, mix the chiles thoroughly with 3 1/2 tablespoons salt, then pack them into a glass jar and top with 1/2 tablespoon salt. Close tightly and refrigerate for two weeks to cure. Stir the salt and chiles thoroughly; they are now ready to use. Kept refrigerated, they will last for months.

Board Links: I Have Discovered the Universal Condiment

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