WHAT IS CHILI OIL?
Used commonly in Chinese and Asian cuisine, chili oil is a condiment of vegetable oil infused with chilies.
Sichuan and Hunan cuisine is known primarily for using oil flavoured with chilies in their dishes.
WHAT DOES CHILI OIL LOOK LIKE?
Chili oil is primarily red/orange in appearance.
It can be light or dark in colour.
The oil itself can contain crushed chilies/chili flakes, or it can be purely just red/orange oil (coloured from the chilies).
WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
Chili oil can vary in taste due to the different spices used to flavour the oil.
HOW TO USE CHILI OIL?
It is commonly used as a dip or condiment for:
Or it can be incorporated into dishes such as:
And if you’re like me, you’ll put it on pizza as well! 😉
IS CHILI OIL SPICY?
It can be mild, or can be very spicy. This depends on the amount of chili that is used in the oil.
Naturally, if a spicy chili is used (such as ghost pepper chili), then the oil will be much more spicier.
DIFFERENT CHILI CONDIMENTS
Chili crisp is a chili oil that is infused with crispy, crunchy bits — usually fried shallot, onion, and garlic flakes.
It is also flavoured with salt, and ties together any dish needing a little crunchy texture.
Chili sauce is a blended mixture of chili peppers, sugar, vinegar, salt.
Sambal is a thick chili paste with made with crushed bird’s eye chili peppers, vinegar and some salt.
Traditionally, sambal often includes shrimp paste, and can also contain garlic, ginger, palm sugar, lime juice and other flavourings.
CHILI GARLIC SAUCE
Like sambal, chili garlic sauce is a thick sauce with the addition of garlic, vinegar, sugar, and other flavourings.
WHAT CAN YOU ADD TO THE OIL?
Apart from dried, crushed chili flakes, you can add various spices (whole or finely processed) to flavour the oil.
Common spices include:
- star anise
- bay leaves
- Sichuan peppercorns
Other additions can include:
- fried garlic
- fried onion
- sesame seeds
My hubby doesn’t actually like the taste of bay leaf, so I’ve omitted it in my recipe. However, I love cumin and fennel seeds, so I’ve added those spices to my chili oil.
I love how it is totally customizable to your taste.
Try changing it up with additions of soy sauce, minced shallots, or ginger.
HOW TO MAKE FLAVOURFUL CHILI OIL AT HOME
This chili oil is really simple to make at home.
Use a neutral oil, such as peanut or grapeseed.
It’s important to note that the oil should be heated to 225F.
Note: Be careful not to overheat the oil or the chilies will burn and impart a bitter taste.
Grind the spices in a spice grinder.
Add the ground spices into a clean, sterilized jar.
Heat the oil until it reaches 225F. Use a cooking thermometer to gauge the temperature.
Carefully pour the hot oil over the chili and spices, letting the oil cook and release the spice’s flavours.
FAQ’s & TROUBLESHOOTING
HOW LONG CAN CHILI OIL LAST?
If you store the oil in a sterilized jar, it can last for at least 6 months up to 1 year.
WHY IS MY OIL CLOUDY?
Chili oil can separate and become cloudy, especially when refrigerated, but should return to its natural consistency at room temperature. It will not affect the taste of quality of the oil.
HOW TO TELL IF THE OIL HAS GONE BAD?
Give the chili oil a sniff — if it has gone rancid, develops a smell, or tastes weird… toss it.
HOW TO STORE THE OIL
You can store the oil at room temperature, however, to prolong its shelf life, store it in the fridge.
The flavoured oil can last for up to 1 year or longer when refrigerated.
OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY ENJOY
If you love spicy foods, be sure to try these other recipes:
If you try out this recipe, I’d love to see — tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Homemade Flavourful Chili Oil
- 3 Tbsp Sichuan peppercorn reduce the amount if you don't like the tingly/numbing sensation
- 1 tsp whole coriander seed
- ½ Tbsp whole fennel seed
- ½ Tbsp whole cumin seed
- ¾ C chili flakes divided
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 C neutral oil such as peanut or grapeseed
- 4 whole star anise
- 1 stick cinnamon
Clean and sterilize the jar:
- Thoroughly wash and clean a 1.5 C heat/oven-safe mason glass jar and lid.
- Sterilize by placing the jar and lid in a large pot of hot boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
- Carefully remove the jar and lid from the boiling water and place them onto a clean baking tray. Place the tray into a hot oven (about 300F) for 10 minutes, until all the moisture has evaporated.
- Remove the tray from the oven and let it cool.
Grind the spices:
- Place the Sichuan peppercorn, coriander seed, fennel seed, cumin seed and ½ C chili flakes into a spice grinder. [If you don't like the chili flake texture in the oil, you can grind the remaining ¼ C of the chili flakes].
- Blitz until the spices are finely ground.
- Transfer the ground spices into the clean, sterilized jar.
- To the jar, add the remaining ¼ C chili flakes, 1 tsp sea salt, and paprika powder.
Heat the oil:
- In a small saucepan, add in the neutral oil, star anise and cinnamon stick.
- Heat the oil over medium heat, until it registers a temperature of 225°F.
- Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick with a slotted spoon and discard.
- Carefully pour the hot oil into the glass jar. [Some bubbling may occur].
- Give the chili oil a stir with a spoon and seal the jar with the lid.
- Let cool at room temperature.
- Chili oil is ready to use but will develop more flavour and colour as it sits.
- For longer storage, place the chili oil into the fridge.