Fried Shallots and Shallot Oil

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A must in my pantry.  A pot of shallot oil and a container with the crispy fried shallot bits are always at the corner of my kitchen counter.

Too lazy? Drizzle shallot oil with light soy sauce over blanched vegetables to make a simple dish.
Too boring?  Add a few drops over a bowl of clear hot soup, it will smell instantly better.
Too hungry?  Dry tossed egg noodles with shallot oil and kecap manis makes a fast and fulfilling meal, better than eating instant noodles.
It’s also my choice condiment over a plate of steaming hot chee cheong fun (猪肠粉), instead of the sweet sesame sauce that the breakfast stalls usually provide me with.

You can choose to make as much or as little as you want,  simply adjust the quantity of shallots and oil.  Just make sure that the amount of oil used is enough for the sliced shallots to be fully submerged.  If you are a die-hard-shallot-oil-fan like me, have a dedicated small covered pot just for frying shallot oil, and use it as the storage container after preparing.  That’s one less greasy utensil to wash later!

I don’t store the oil and fried shallots in fridge, as some recipes suggested, I find it too troublesome to return the oil to room temperature every time I use it.  I have been leaving them covered in a cool dark corner, this method has been working so far for me.  But try to finish them within one week, that should not be too difficult if you cook everyday, otherwise, keeping them in the fridge might be a safer idea.



  • 200g shallots, remove peel and sliced thinly, about 2-3mm
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, enough to cover the sliced shallots


01. Set a small pot over high heat, add oil and bring it to hot.  To test oil temperature, drop a shallot slice, oil is ready when it bubbles right away.
02. Add shallot slices, stir occasionally with a pair of wooden chopsticks.  The oil temperature will dip when the shallots are first added, watch for the oil temperature to return to high.
03. Once you notice that the temperature of the oil has returned to high, turn the heat slightly lower, and maintain this gentle sizzle, keep stirring.  Frying the shallots over high heat will shorten the cooking time, but may lead to burnt shallots and a bitter taste in the oil : a no-no.
04. At the first sight of the shallots turning from light purple to light brown –
// A. If you are using the cooking pot as the storage container for the shallot oil : shut down the fire and start to pick out the ones turning golden brown first with chopsticks or slotted spoon (the sizzling/cooking process will still go on even after turning off the heat). Drain them over a plate lined with paper towels.  The shallots will continue to cook even after being scooped out from the oil, and will turn a shade darker after they have cooled down.  Do not wait till them have turned golden/dark brown to drain them from the oil, or they will be burnt by the end of the cooling process.  There will be some shallot bits left at the bottom of the oil with this ‘picking’ method, but I am not too concerned with it; the heat has been turned down long before these bits can become charred.  Treat them as extra bonuses when you scoop them out with the oil!
// B. If you are not using the pot as the storage container : when the shallots has turned golden brown, turn off the heat and strain the hot oil over a clean, dry strainer.  Make sure you use a HEATPROOF container to collect the oil, as it is very hot.  Drain the fried shallots over paper towels to remove excess oil.
06.  Cool fried shallots and shallot oil completely before storing.  Use an air-tight container for fried shallots, crispy ones are very much preferred!