Chinese Fried Shallots or Hong Cong Tou as some may call it, is a popular garnish used all over Asia. Crispy, sweet and crunchy, they help provide a helping hand when added to any dish. With only a few ingredients and a little time, you’ll be able to make it at home anytime you want.
I first came upon this interesting garnish when I was in Taiwan.
At first, I thought it was tiny onion rings or onions, similar to that of the fried onions you’ll find on top of a green bean casserole. However to my surprise, they are actually a bit different.
They provide a much sweeter and milder taste that absolutely bonded together with the dish I was eating. It was definitely something that caught my attention.
I asked the chef what exactly this was, and he replied saying it was a shallot.
Growing up, I never really used shallots before as onions were my preferred choice. However upon learning of how good these fried shallots were, I decided to start using them more often.
Now anytime I make any type of dish, these Chinese Fried Shallots / Hong Cong Tou / 紅蔥頭 will be something I’ll always add to to it for that extra bit of flavor.
And in this post, I’ll be showing you exactly how I make this delicious creation.
What Is A Shallot?
Whenever you are walking around a supermarket, you might stumble upon something that looks remarkably similar to an onion, except smaller.
So you might be wondering….are they onions? Or are they something entirely different?
To be honest, they are relatively similar with just a few differences.
Shallots are a member of the allium family, which is closely related to onions, garlic and chives. When diced, minced or sliced, shallots are used mainly for seasoning dishes and help elevate the flavor.
Their taste is also different in that they are a bit sweet, milder and more delicate than that of a regular onion. Although it is not uncommon to find people using them interchangeably with an onion.
But the biggest difference between shallots and onions is that shallots break down much more easily than their larger counterparts when cooked. This allows for a meltier level of caramelization, or a more subtle touch when creating things like sauces.
What To Pair With Fried Shallots?
Chinese Fried Shallots / Hong Cong Tou / 紅蔥頭 are a very versatile ingredient.
They can literally be paired with anything.
Some of the most common foods you’ll see paired with fried shallots are:
- Gua Bao
- Lu Rou Fan
- and many more
It’s a garnish, so basically you can add it to anything you want. In fact, one of my most favorite things to add it in is to my fried rice.
There are no rules, so add it to whatever you want.
I guarantee it will taste amazing.
Ingredients To Make This Dish
The ingredients to make Chinese Fried Shallots / Hong Cong Tou / 紅蔥頭 are very simple to get and buy.
It uses only a few ingredients which makes this recipe perfect for any level of cook.
The ingredients you’ll need are as followed:
- Medium Shallots – about 6 of them
- Vegetable Oil – 1/2 Cup of oil
How To Make Chinese Fried Shallots
Making Chinese Fried Shallots / Hong Cong Tou / 紅蔥頭 are a relatively easy thing to do.
The entire process should only take about 5 minutes.
The process to make fried shallots are as followed:
First grab your shallots and peel the outer skin. Then give the shallots a quick wash to clean them. After that, dry the shallots off with a napkin.
Now on a cutting board, cut your shallots into tiny pieces. Try to make the pieces all evenly sized. Then set them aside.
Now grab a wok or a pot or pan and fill it with about 1/2 cup of oil. More if you are using more shallots. Turn the heat up to medium high heat and wait for the oil to get hot.
Once the oil is hot enough, gently put all of your chopped shallots into the oil.
Fry it for about 2 to 3 minutes while also stirring the shallots around.
Once the shallots have turned a yellow-gold color, use a slotted spoon and remove it from the oil. Transfer the shallots to a dish with some paper towels on top to soak up the oil. Let it cool for about a few minutes before using.
How to Keep/Store Fried Shallots
To be honest, these Chinese Fried Shallots / Hong Cong Tou / 紅蔥頭 won’t really keep well for a very long time.
In fact, they have a very short life span.
If you are going to be making these fried shallots, I recommend you use them immediately.
Otherwise, you can store them in an air-tight container for up to 1 day.
Chinese Fried Shallots Recipe (紅蔥頭) Hong Cong Tou
- 6 Medium Shallots
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
- Grab your shallots and peel the outer skin. Then give the shallots a quick wash to clean them. After that, dry the shallots off with a napkin.
- Grab a cutting board, cut your shallots into tiny pieces. Make sure to make all the pieces evenly sized. Then set them aside.
- Grab a wok or a pot or pan and fill it with the vegetable oil. Then turn the heat up to medium high and wait for the oil to get hot.
- Once the oil is hot enough, gently put in all of your chopped shallots. Fry it for about 2 to 3 minutes while making sure to stir the shallots around.
- Once the shallots have turned a yellow-gold color, use a slotted spoon and remove it from the oil. Transfer the shallots to a dish with some paper towels on top to soak up the oil.
- Let it cool for about a few minutes and then start using them.
Did you try making my Chinese Fried Shallots / Hong Cong Tou / 紅蔥頭? If so, how were they? I would love to hear all about it down in the comment section below or you can connect with my on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.