I didn’t use to get garnishes. Yes, they make your food look good but when I was younger, I found them annoying. Maybe it’s from my disdain of coriander. I used to REALLY hate that stuff but it was everywhere – on my porridge, on my noodles, in my soups. (I have to say I really like the stuff now though.)
But then there was one garnish that always stayed true to my heart. It’s not pretty but it’s crispy, tasty, and not green. It was the fried shallot.
In terms of application of the garnish, there are plenty. You could top them off in congee, fried rice, fried noodles, Chinese macaroni chicken soup (sounds strange but it’s one of my childhood favorites), Chinese style fish soup etc. Plus, they’re easy to make too.
Traditionally, they’re made by tossing sliced up shallots into a wok of hot oil. My parents used to make them in the microwave but I found that to be finicky and the procedure varies too much with the make of the microwave. I’ve burned many a fried shallot using a microwave so I make mine in a little pot and some oil.
From what I know, shallots contain glucose, sucrose and fructose. Glucose and sucrose caramelize at 320F so that’s what we’re shooting for.
A recipe can be found on saveur here.