Like many elderly people (I’m on my way at age 36), I enjoy doing mundane, repetitive tasks every now and then. One of which is making my own fried shallots (hanh phi). Getting comfy and doing nothing but peeling shallots while listening to good music soothes my soul.
My first few attempts at frying shallots yielded either burnt shallots or soggy shallots, and I simply wonder why I didn’t pick up fried shallots at the grocery store and call it a day. However, once you master your own fried shallots, you can never go back to the store-bought version. The homemade version is tastier, fresher, and so much cheaper.
There are so many dishes that call for fried shallots that I always appreciate my past-self for making them in advance in large batches. I sprinkle fried shallots on Vietnamese Chicken Soup with Bamboo Shoots (Canh Ga Nau Mang). I sprinkle fried shallots on noodle soups like Vietnamese Egg Noodle Soup with Wontons (Mi Hoanh Thanh), Vietnamese Pork & Seafood Noodle Soup (Hu Tieu Mi) and Vietnamese Combination Dry Egg Noodle Recipe (Mi Kho Thap Cam). I sprinkle fried shallots on Vietnamese Steamed Rice Rolls (Banh Cuon). I sprinkle fried shallots on Vietnamese thick rice porridge. I also sprinkle fried shallots on Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Goi Ga Bap Cai). If I can swim in fried shallots, I would.
Follow my recipe below to get the techniques so that you too can have perfectly fried shallots each and every time.
How to Make Crispy Fried Shallots (Hanh Phi)
Makes 2 cups
- 10 large shallots (peel and slice thin)
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- Spread shallots evenly on a microwave-safe plate lined with several layers of paper towels. Microwave for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and dab the soften shallots with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Allow them to air dry for 30 minutes.
- Add oil and shallots to a frying pan (yes, add shallot to room temperature oil). Heat oil to 250°F and cook for 8 minutes or when the majority of the shallots turn light brown. Occasionally stir the shallots for even browning. Note: residual heat will continue to cook the shallots so get them out of the oil before the desired color.
- Remove shallots with a slotted spoon or a fine mesh sieve. Transfer them a to plate lined with paper towels. Once cool, the shallots are ready to use. Store extra in an airtight container at room temperature.