How to make Sichuan Chili Oil 如何制作四川红油

Chili Oil is an essential part of Sichuan cuisine. It is so common that nearly every household in Sichuan, and every restaurant, no matter Michellin starred or mom n pop shop around street corner, has it for a wide range of culinary usage.  Because of its common usage, Sichuan Chili Oil has many different way to make, containing chili powder, vegetable oil, sesame, and other spices.

 

Below is one of our hand-made Chili Oil recipe.

 

Make Chili Oil from Dry Chili

Ingredients:

1. Soybean Oil 1000g

2. Dry Chili 400g - we use 4 different chili together (Er Jing Tiao, Bullet Head, Facing-heaven Chili, Star-in-the-Sky Chili).  The combination of these 4 chilies offer a good balance on heat level, fragrance, and color. We offers Sichuan Chili Variety Set at a good price. (100g of each for the 4 chilies)

3. Sesame seed 20g

4. Star Anise 3g

5. Bay Leaf 3g

6. Cao Guo - one crushed pod about 3g. We have 100g Cao Guo packet for sale

7. Cinnamon 3g

8. Onion 40g - cut into pieces

9. Ginger 40g - cut into slices

10. Scallion 40g - cut into strips

 

Step by Step Instructions:

1. Stir-fry the dry chilies with no oil - use a wok with medium heat,  NO OIL is needed in this step.  Add the chilies into the wok and stir fry the chilies till the fragrance comes out. At that time, most of the chilies would be crispy. Get the chilies out and let them cool down a bit.

2. Crush the chili - there are several ways to crush the chili.  The easiest way is to use a grinder. The usual coffee bean grinder would be fine. However, if you use grinder, you need to be careful about the grinding time. You do not want to grind the chili into powder.  We want chili flakes instead of powder. Put chili flakes and sesame into a container which can sustain high temperature - we will pour the hot vegetable oil (temperature 240F) into it to make the chili oil.

2. Heat Oil in a wok with spices, Onion, Scallion and Ginger - Add the vegetable oil in a wok with low heat. Then add onion, scallion, ginger, bay leaf, cinnamon, Caoguo (crush the nut in advance), and star anise.  With the spices added, heat the oil to about 240F gradually. Fry the spices / onion /ginger / scallion till the fragrance comes out and onion pieces fully fried. It may take about 10 minutes depending on the heat level. Then turn off the heat and fish out the spices / onion / scallion / ginger.

3. Pour heated oil into the crushed chilies and sesame - this step is a key step to make good chili oil. If the oil temparature is too  high, it may burn the crushed chili.  On the other hand, if the oil temparature is too low, the fragrance of chili oil will not be as strong as wanted.  So here is our tip:

A. Pour 1/3 of 1000g oil into the container. At the same time, quickly stir the crushed chili while the heat oil fries the crushed chili in order to spread the heat quickly and thoroughly. 

B. After fully mix the oil with the crushed chili and then pour the remaining 2/3 of oil into the container.  Stir the crushed chili and sesame while pouring the oil.

 Tips:

1. The higher the temperature of the oil, the less spicy of the chili oil, all other thing being equal.  If you want extra spicy chili oil, get spicier dry chili to make crush chili flakes and do not burn the chili flakes too much

2. Use low heat to heat the oil with spices. The longer the heat time, the stronger the flavors from the spices in the oil.  However, do not burn the spices.

3. To get the vivid red color in your chili oil, find the right oil temprature and the right amount of oil and chili flakes.

4, To find the perfect balance among the fragrance, heat level and the vivid color, it requires experience with the chili flakes you are using. There is no one temperature of oil magically fits different kind of chili flakes.


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