The homemade chilli crisp is the star of this dish, bringing the heat and toasty flavours you crave. Pairing it with tender, leafy bok choy and popped sorghum rounds everything out into a complete dish you’ll crave again and again.
2 1/2 cups (590ml) mixed dried dried árbol, bird’s eye, and Sichuan chilies, stems and seeds removed
1/2 cup (120ml) roasted and salted peanuts, chopped roughly
2-inch (5cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and brunoised
3 pieces star anise
3 pods green cardamom
3 tablespoons (45ml) ground Sichuan pepper
3 tablespoons (45ml) shiitake mushroom pepper
2 tablespoons (30ml) sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons (22.5ml) salt
2 teaspoons (10ml) ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon (3.75ml) black pepper
2 1/2 cups (590ml) vegetable oil
2 cups (470ml) shallots, peeled and brunoised
3/4 cup (180ml) garlic, minced
1/4 cup (60ml) sorghum
Steamed Bok Choy
1 pound (454g) small bok choy, halved lengthwise
Oil, for searing
Salt and black pepper, to season
Grind the chillies in a spice grinder until coarsely ground. Transfer the ground chillies to a large, heatproof bowl.
Add the peanuts, ginger, star anise, cardamom, Sichuan pepper, mushroom powder, sugar, and salt to the ground chiles. Reserve.
Set a fine-mesh strainer over a separate medium-sized, heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the vegetable oil and shallots. Cook over high heat, for two to three minutes, stirring often. Once shallots are golden-brown, remove them to a lined plate and reserve.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add the garlic. Cook for two to three minutes, until light golden brown. Remove the garlic to a lined plate and reserve.
Bring the oil back up to 375° F (190° C)
Carefully pour the hot oil over the chillies and spices in the first bowl. Stir until well combined. Cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
Remove the star anise and cardamom, and mix in the fried shallots and garlic. Reserve.
Store refrigerated overnight for best flavour.
Preheat a dry heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the sorghum grains and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
Shake the pot often while covered until you hear the sorghum start to pop. Keep shaking the pot vigorously while keeping the lid firmly in place.
Once about two-thirds of the grains are popped, or you can count about 10 to 15 seconds between pops, remove the pot from the heat. Carefully remove the lid and pour the sorghum into a large bowl.
Set aside and reserve for plating.
Heat oil in a cast-iron pan until shimmering.
Sear bok choy, cut side down, without disturbing, for one to two minutes, until well-browned.
Flip and cook for 30 seconds to one minute more, to heat through.
Add one-quarter cup (60 ml) of water to the pan and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce heat and allow to steam for about one to two minutes, until tender. Keep warm.
Mound the bok choy on a serving platter. Spoon the chilli crisp around the bok choy and garnish with the popped sorghum.