Makes about 1 litre
200g dried shrimp
300g conpoy (dried scallops)
300ml cooking sake
1.1 litres vegetable oil
100g bacon, finely chopped
20g garlic cloves, finely chopped
small long red chillies, finely chopped
40g salted black beans
30g soft brown sugar
200g fried shallots
3 1⁄2 tbsp chilli oil
1 tbsp chilli flakes
Start by soaking the dried shrimp in water for 1 hour. Chop into very small pieces, then cover and set aside.
Put the conpoy in a bowl that fits inside a bamboo steamer and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Pour the sake over the conpoy, put the lid on, and steam for 2 hours. Drain, reserving the liquid. Shred the meat and set aside.
Fill a large wok or heavy-based saucepan one-third with oil and heat to 170°C (325°F/Gas 3) or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 20 seconds. Deep-fry the dried shrimp until they crisp up and turn bright orange. Using a small sieve, scoop the shrimp out and put them in a deep saucepan. Repeat the deep-frying process with the conpoy, frying them until they have taken on some colour. Scoop out and add to the saucepan with the shrimp.
Finally, deep-fry the bacon, garlic, fresh chilli and black beans for about 3–4 minutes, then transfer to the saucepan with the fried shrimp and conpoy.
Pour the reserved sake liquid into the pan. Turn the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. It’s really important to keep stirring as the mixture can burn easily at this point. Add the brown sugar, fried shallots, chilli oil and chilli flakes. Continue cooking and stirring for another 5 minutes, or until the shallots are incorporated and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, cool a little then transfer to sterilised jars. You can store this sauce in the fridge for up to 6 months.
This is an edited extract from Mr Hong: A glimpse into the mind of the brilliant chef behind Mr Wong, El Loco & Ms. G’s by Dan Gong (Murdoch Books) RRP $49.99