[Flavor Friday] Shallot
What is Shallot?
Shallot (Allium ascalonicum) is a cultivar of the onion which makes it a close relative with garlic, scallions, chives, leeks, and onion (all in the Allium family). Shallot originated in Southwest/Central Asia. A shallot looks like an elongated and smaller version of red onion, and its bulb contains about 2-3 shallot cloves.
What does it taste like?
Shallot is part of the onion family but it doesn’t have as strong of a taste as onion. It is generally sweeter, milder, and less onion-like than onion and also has a bit of the garlic taste to it. Shallots are usually substitutable with scallions, and onions. 3-4 shallots can substitute for a small onion or about 6-9 scallions.
How to use/where to find?
Shallot is commonly used in European and Asian cuisines. It can be found in most grocery stores (don’t need to go to an Asian market to find it). It is usually at a section that is close to onions and garlic.
In Asian cuisines, people usually like to deep-fry the finely-sliced shallots with pork fat to bring out that extra flavor (you can also substitute the pork fat with vegetable oil). Once deep-fried, it becomes crunchy and easy to store for a variety of uses as a condiment. Fried shallots can be found in Asian markets and are usually packaged in plastic wrap or plastic/glass cans.
For braised dishes, such as braised pork, people add crunchy/post-deep-fried shallots into the braised dish after the dish is boiled and turned to low heat for braising.
For stir-fried dishes, deep-fried shallots are added to the stir fry process last. However, when using raw shallots, you would usually stir-fry the sliced shallots with garlic and scallion first before stir-frying the rest of the ingredients.
For soup, the fried shallots are added right before serving to add additional flavor and aroma to the dish.
When used raw, shallots are good with salad and/or dressings because of their mild taste.
Braised Pork (with rice or noodles), Congee (Rice Porridge), Thin Noodles with Sesame oil,
Garlic Noodles, Wonton Soup