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Umami Oil

Makes about 2 cups

© by Damian March

“XO Pepperoni Sauce”


  • Homemade or Store-Bought Low-Sodium Chicken Stock or Dashi 1 cup
  • Dried Porcini, Shiitake or Maitake Mushrooms ½ oz
  • Garlic 6 medium cloves, smashed with the flat side of a knife
  • Fresh Ginger 1 x 2“ piece, cut into coin-sized disks
  • Shallots 2 medium, roughly chopped
  • Pepperoni or Spanish Dry-Cured Chorizo 4 oz, very finely minced
  • Bacon or Pancetta 4 oz, very finely minced
  • Vegetable or Canola Oil ¾ cup
  • Oil-Packed Anchovy Fillets 6, finely minced
  • Ground Korean Chile Flakes (Gochugaru) 1 Tbs
  • Dried Bay Leaves 2
  • Star Anise 1 whole
  • Shaoxing Wine ½ cup
  • Oyster Sauce 2 Tbs
  • Fish Sauce 1 Tbs
  • Light Soy Sauce or Shoyu 2 Tbs
  • Dark Brown Sugar 2 Tbs

Cook It

  1. Heat the stock in a small saucepan on the stove or in a microwave-safe container until steaming hot, then add the dried mushrooms, remove from the heat. And allow the mushrooms to rest for 5 minutes to rehydrate. Pick the mushrooms out of the chicken stock (reserve the stock) and roughly chop them.
  2. Place the mushrooms, garlic, ginger and shallots in the bowl of a food processor or mini- chopper and pulse until finely chopped but not pureed, about 12 short pulses. (Alternatively, chop all those ingredients by hand on a cutting board until finely chopped.)
  3. Combine the pepperoni, bacon, and oil in a wok and heat over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, as the bacon and pepperoni start to bubble. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the bacon and pepperoni are starting to turn crisp and golden brown, about 8 minutes total, maintaining a steady bubble throughout the cooking process. Add the anchovies, stir to combine, and continue to cook for 1 minute, until the bacon and pepperoni are mostly crisp.
  4. Add the garlic/ginger/shallot/mushroom mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables turn light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Do not let them overbrown at this stage or they will turn bitter. Add the chile flakes, bay leaves, and star anise and cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

Recipe excerpted from The Wok: Recipes and Techniques. Copyright © 2022 J. Kenji López-Alt. Published by W.W. Norton & Company.

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