As our days get busier, we are far more likely to reach for pre-packaged mixes and other convenience foods to lighten our load and make dinner prep a bit easier. These are some of my favorite homemade kitchen helpers you can make in advance and keep handy for those extra-hectic evenings… or even the non-hectic ones. Work smarter, not harder!
I recently stumbled across what is possibly the most addicting condiment known to man: Fly By Jing Chili Crisp Vinaigrette. It’s absolutely delicious. Complex, savory umami + tangy acidity + moderately spicy heat… Oh my.
Now, I usually pay close attention to nutrition labels and it’s uncommon for a bad one to slip by me, but this one did. It wasn’t until after we tried it in a stir fry and fell head over heels in love that I realized that its main ingredient was rapeseed oil, aka canola oil.
Boo. We don’t do industrial seed oils. They’re not allowed in the house; we have a restraining order.
There was only one thing to be done. I couldn’t rest until I’d created a passable copycat. The fermented black beans (aka douchi) and aged Chinese black vinegar are essential to getting that beautiful dark, smoky flavor. I really don’t think there are any good substitutes for these ingredients.
What I ended up with is close… not exact, but very close to the original — and pretty great in its own right (if I do say so myself!) Best of all, there is no canola oil or refined sugars in this version, so we can feel good about using it on ALL the things. ♥