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This chili oil provides gently heat with tons of flavours from Chinese spices. It’s a perfect adds-on for lots of Chinese and Japanese dishes, as well as a handy condiment for noodles, rice, and vegetable stir-fry.
What is Chili Oil?
Chili Oil (辣椒油/辣油 Là Jiāo Yóu/ Là Yóu) is a spice-infused oil, typically used in a many Chinese and Asian dishes. It’s also a great day-to-day condiment, going well with noodles, rice, congee, or stir-fry vegetables. It’s one of those things I learned to like as I grew up (in Taiwan).
Chili oil is not just about “hot,” but also depth of flavours that bring dishes to another level. I can validate this because I personally don’t like super hot or spicy food, but always happy to add chili oil to my meal.
What’s special about this Chili Oil?
- Mild & aromatic in taste, with depth of flavours
- Super easy and quick to put together
- Versatile in tons of Chinese and Asian recipes
- Perfect condiment for noodles and Chinese stir-fry
- Vegan & vegetarian-friendly
How to Make Chili Oil (辣椒油)
- 100 g vegetable oil, neutral-flavour*
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
- 2 slices ginger
- 2 star anise
- 2 Tbsp toasted white sesame seeds, 12 g
- 3 Tbsp Chinese chilli flakes, ~9 g
- 1 cassia bark, or cinnamon stick
- 1/4 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, **
- 1/4 tsp Sichuan pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cane sugar, unrefined
- Heat up a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add oil, crushed garlic, and ginger slices. Let it cook for 4 minutes or so until the garlic cloves are slightly brown on the edges.
- While waiting for the oil, add the rest ingredients (i.e. star anise, sesame seeds, chilli flakes, Sichuan peppercorns, Sichuan pepper powder, Chinese five spice, salt, and sugar) into a heat-resistant jar.
- Turn off the heat. Fish out the garlic and ginger in the oil. (I save them to make soup.) Then pour the hot oil to the spices in the jar. Give it a stir and let the oil sit/marinate until it has cooled down.
- Fish out the star anise and cassia bark if you prefer. Then the chili oil is ready to be used. Let it marinate for longer if you have time, so the overall flavour will be stronger.
- *Vegetable oil: You can use any neutral-flavour vegetable oil, like sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, canola oil. Here I use extra-virgin rapeseed oil.
- **Sichuan peppercorns: Sichuan peppercorns give out a more mild flavour than Sichuan pepper powder. But if you don’t have them, you can just use another 1/4 teaspoon of Sichuan pepper powder.
- Storage: Once the oil has cooled down completely, store it in an airtight jar in the fridge. It should last for 1 month.
- Servings: Here, I just roughly consider 5 ml (1 teaspoon) is ONE serving. But it’s for reference. Feel free to add as little or as much as you like!
- Adapted from Carol Easy Life and Che Jorge
How to Store Chili Oil
Once the oil has cooled down completely, store it in an airtight jar in the fridge. It should last for about 1 month.
Extra Tips for Success
- Use medium heat to warm up the oil. We don’t want to burn the garlic or the oil. Gentle heat with longer time will induce more delicate flavours.
- Crush the garlic before adding in. We want to keep the garlics whole, so it’s easier to fish them out later. But it’s crucial to crush the garlics, so the flavour can come out. Just use the blade face of a knife or spatula against the garlic and give it a punch (be careful!).
Questions You Might Have
What kind of oil can I use?
You can use any neutral-flavour vegetable oil, such as sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, canola oil, and grapeseed oil. Here I use extra-virgin rapeseed oil.
I don’t have Sichuan peppercorns, is it necessary?
It’s not necessary. You can replace it with another 1/4 teaspoon of Sichuan pepper powder. But recommend adding Sichuan peppercorns as well to give the oil extra depth of flavour.
Can I skip the sugar and salt in this chili oil recipe?
Yes, you can. But salt and sugar here will bring out more flavours from the spices and make the oil more handy in different kinds of recipes.
This is the easy, quick chili oil that’s super delicious and versatile. Adding a teaspoon of any noodles or stir-fry vegetable will bring the overall flavour further up and beyond. I even tried adding it to silken tofu, and it tasted very good as well! I hope you will give it a try and let me know your thoughts.
x. – Nora