Crispy fried shallots are an essential condiment in Vietnam. They turn up in soups and on salads, sprinkled onto dumplings as a garnish, and minced and added to meatballs. Crispy, sweet, and salty, they are indispensable. You may want to make double batches, as people have a hard time resisting the urge to snack on them. Strain the oil you used to fry the shallots and use it in other recipes or to fry more shallots. The strained oil, called shallot oil, will keep, refrigerated, for several weeks. The shallots should be used the same day they are fried.
• 2 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 4 large shallots)
• 2 cups canola oil
Makes 1 cup fried shallots
1. Ina small saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high until it registers 275°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
2. Increase the heat to high and place a fine-mesh sieve over a heatproof bowl. When the oil registers 350°F on the deep-fry thermometer, add the once-fired shallots and cook just until they are crispy and well-browned, about 1–2 seconds, watching carefully so the shallots don’t burn.
3. Immediately pour the oil and shallots through the sieve to stop the cooking, then transfer to shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve the oil for another use. The shallots will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 1 day, but they’re best the day they are made.