Spicy, aromatic, tingly, and flavor-packed, chili oil is a condiment that detonates all your senses and makes your mouth water. This fiery seasoning is an absolute must-have for all kitchens!
A simple recipe that transforms even a plain pot of rice into a delicious bowl of flavors. Think of it as a pick-me-up that will nose its way into the most random dishes on your table and detonate addictive bombs.
How to make chili oil?
I want to begin by saying that this chili oil recipe is by no means authentic. It’s my interpretation of Yeung Man Cooking’s recipe. I didn’t have all the listed ingredients, so I gave it a few Tasha Twists.
But the result was still perfection.
Also, you can use a mason jar (like Wil Yeung) or a bowl (like I did). In either case, make sure the glass is heatproof because you’re handling hot oil.
Step 1: Combine sesame seeds, red chili powder, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, star anise, and sesame oil along. The original recipe doesn’t have salt and sugar, but I found that they balanced the flavors.
Step 2: In a small pan, heat peanut oil on low for 4 to 5 minutes.
Step 3: Add a small piece of ginger when the oil is hot (not bubbling). This forms the base of your chili oil. Let it fry till nicely brown, then remove and discard.
Step 4: Take the oil off the heat and pour it over the spice mixture. Be very careful because the oil sizzles as you pour.
Step 5: Stir and let the spice flavors infuse into the oil. Cool completely before you transfer it into an airtight jar and refrigerate. It should last for good 3 weeks.
Answering your burning questions about chili oil
Can you use the chili flakes you get with pizza?
No, the chili flakes we get as pizza toppings don’t really work because they are made by crushing seeds. For chili oil, what you need is a powder made from the skin to give the oil that gorgeous color and a zing of smokiness.
The best choice is Sichuan pepper powder, which is available at an Asian grocery store. Can’t get your hands on it? Don’t let that stop you from trying this Chinese chili oil.
Take my route. It’s different but leads to the same place and uses an ingredient that’s found in abundance in every Indian kitchen.
- Very lightly dry roast whole red chilies in a pan. Just a couple of minutes.
- Let them cool.
- Grind them before you mix them with other spices.
How hot was my chili oil? Let’s just say it had a one-two piquant punch. If you’re not crazy about spiciness, halve the number of chilies, or you can use a milder red chili powder.
What aromatics and spices to use in hot chili oil?
Besides the spices I use, an essential ingredient for chili oil is Sichuan peppercorns. My recipe skips them only because I couldn’t find any. If you do, coarsely grind the peppercorns and then include them in your spice mix.
Add-ins: Cloves, green and black cardamom bring lovely additional layers of heat to the oil. You can even stir in soy but do it after the oil has cooled. Although I will say this, chili oil really doesn’t need anything extra.
What oil is used in chili oil?
I prefer peanut oil for everything that’s why far too soon, my bottles are empty. Apart from it, any neutral oil, like sunflower or canola, makes a fantastic choice.
Infinite ways to use chili oil
There are so many possibilities with chili oil that I promise it’ll become a permanent fixture on your dining table. It elevates any dish from meh to wow in seconds.
- Drizzle it on your soup
- Stir it into noodles
- Top it on fried eggs
- Mix it in salad
- Marry it with pasta
- Scoop it on avocado toast
- Dip for potstickers
- Or even spoon it on plain rice or fried rice
Why make chili oil at home?
I know there is no dearth of chili oils in the market, but the one you make at home is incomparable. The amazing aroma, the vibrant color, and the zingier, spicier flavor just seep into you. You’ll savor every bite.
Plus, you have complete control over the quality, how much oil to use, which oil to use, and the level of heat. It’s fresher, more textured, and super, super easy to make because all the ingredients are already in your pantry.
And, oh, did I mention it makes a great gift for friends who enjoy spicy, savory, and sharp dimensions in their food? Pack the chili oil in a glass jar, top it with twine or ribbon, and you have a small something to bring a smile to any face.
More homemade recipes to try
Easy Chili Oil
- 3/4 cup Peanut oil
- 2" pc Ginger
- 4 tbsp Chili powder From Asian grocery store or simply dry roast dried chillies and grind them.
- 2 tbsp Sesame seeds
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 2 pc Star anise
- 1 tsp Salt I used Himalayan pink salt
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Sesame oil
- 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, coarsely ground I left this out as I couldn't source them
- Combine the sesame seeds, chili powder, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, star anise, salt, sugar, and sesame oil in a heat-proof bowl or jar.
- Heat the peanut oil on low flame for 3-4 minutes. Add the ginger. Once the ginger fries, take the pan off the heat and remove the ginger.
- Carefully pour the hot oil over the sesame chili mixture.
- Let this cool completely before transferring it to a jar. Cover and refrigerate. Use over dumplings, noodles, eggs. Enjoy!
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