Kitchn Love Letters

This New $12 Sauce Turns Boring Chicken Breasts into A Mushroom-y Umami Treat

published Sep 10, 2021
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Credit: Evan Sung

I recently developed a deep love for chili crisp. It might border on obsession. I want to add this savory, crunchy, spicy condiment to everything, from scrambled eggs in the morning to chicken and shrimp dinners to my ice cream for dessert (is that even a thing?!). I’ve tried my fair share of chili crisp varieties from breakout brands like Fly by Jing, which launched a line of deliciously spicy, umami-laden sauces, condiments, and pantry staples. So, when I caught wind of a new launch of condiments from the chef and mastermind behind popular NoMad-based Chinese restaurant, Milu (and ex-culinary director of Eleven Madison Park), Connie Chung, my Spidey senses knew that this chili crisp — and the entire line of condiments and spices — would be utterly incredible.

As Connie explained to Kitchn, “When we opened during the pandemic, it was an easy decision to make these sauces available online. With the uptick in cooking at home, we are excited to have more people try the flavors that we’re proud to serve at Milu.”

Included in Milu Pantry’s lineup of condiments is, of course, the aforementioned Chili Crisp, Hoisin Sauce, Chili Oil, and — my personal favorite — a tangy, mushroom-y Dumpling Sauce, which I am literally adding to almost everything I eat for dinner, from fried rice to chicken breasts to salad vinaigrettes. More on that later.

“Our sauces, just like the rest of our menu at the restaurant, have always been our take on the Chinese flavors that we love,” Connie says.

Milu’s range of condiments take traditionally spicy, one-dimensional sauces to a more savory, nuanced depth of flavor, using ingredients like Cobanero chili and Chinkiang vinegar. “For our chili crisp, we wanted to make something that was more savory than spicy, and we added a variety of unique chili flakes such as the Cobanero chili to add depth of flavor,” she says.

Milu’s Hoisin is surprising in its tartness, sweetness, and acidity. Molasses, miso paste, and mushroom extract work together to create a rich, decadent, almost dark chocolate-like flavor. “For our hoisin, we went a bit less traditional and made our version less sweet, more acidic, and with notes of chocolate reminiscent of mole.” I didn’t know if I wanted to drizzle this atop my veggies with dinner or ice cream for dessert, but honestly this stuff is delicious straight out of the jar.

Though all condiments I tried were delicious and versatile, my favorite of the lineup (hands-down) is Milu’s Dumpling Sauce. Tangy, savory, and packed with just the right amount of heat thanks to the addition of chili oil — this sauce adds mushroom-y umami to even the most basic chicken breasts, rice dishes, or sides. Chinkiang vinegar adds tartness and acidity, making this sauce almost drink-straight-from-the-bottle-level-good.

Most of Milu’s condiments are priced at an affordable $12 price point, and nationwide delivery is available. Whether you’re gifting a condiment-loving pal or upgrading your own pantry and spice cabinet, I highly recommend Milu.