Chili oil is rapidly becoming a staple ingredient in the better-than-average home cook’s kitchen arsenal. This ingredient is more than just a simple condiment. It adds personality to the simplest vegetables and brings dimension to dishes.
If you’re excited by the prospect of that chili oil tingle, wait until you find out how easily you can whip up chili oil in your kitchen before immediately adding it to every dish you cook. Read on to learn how to make the best homemade chili oil.
What Is Chili Oil?
Several cultures have their version of chili oil, and each uses it in slightly different ways. The exact application and ingredients can vary between Southern Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Italian chili oils. However, the general ingredients are similar throughout all variations.
There are typically more ingredients in this item than simple chili and oil. There are several other aromatics, salt, and a few other treats, depending on your desired flavor. One of the best things about chili oil is you can truly make it whatever you want.
While hot chili oil consumers recently embraced the food for a plethora of purposes, chili oil has a few traditional uses in many cultures. For example, it’s used as a dip for dim sum and certain Korean dishes.
The ingredients for this recipe can vary widely depending on your preferences.
The oil you use can be whatever type of neutral oil you want. Common choices include:
You should use between 1 ½ to 3 cups of oil.
Chili flakes provide a lot of the bulk and spice of the food. Choose a chili flake that will be spicy in its own right. Try Sichuan chili flakes or Calabrian chili. Use between three-quarters of a cup and 1 ¼ cup of chili flakes.
Adding chili powder will add dimension and spice to the chili oil. The smaller particles will help the spice permeate throughout the oil. Gochugaruu, piri piri, Aleppo, ancho, chipotle, and pasilla are all solid options. Choose the amount of chili powder based on how spicy you want your chili oil.
Adding aromatics is essential to a delicious chili oil.
You can add any aromatics you want, as long as you have at least three different ones. Choose between aromatic spices like:
- Bay leaves
- Star anise
- Fennel seeds
These aromatics add dimension and complexity.
Salt is vital thanks to its ability to draw out many flavors from the sauce. Fine and coarse salts alike will work well for this food. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons.
Garlic and Other Optional Ingredients
Since chili oil is so compatible with different flavors, consider adding a different layer to your chili oil. Garlic, another aromatic, is always a good option. You may also want to add other ingredients, including sesame seeds, shallots, Worchester sauce, or dried morel powder.
Some of these spices join the other ingredients during the infusion process, while others do best when added afterward.
Chili Oil Recipe
- 1 Pot
- 1 Metal fine mesh strainer
- 1 Heat-proof bowl
- 1 Deep fry thermometer (optional)
- 1 ¼ cups Chili flakes
- 1 ½ - 3 cups Neutral Oil
- Chili Powder
- 2-3 teaspoons Salt
- 3 cloves Garlic
- Create your mise en place. Getting all your ingredients in order is vital for this dish since there is a time element and many moving pieces.
- Place chili flakes in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
- Pour your oil into a pot, leaving a few inches of space at the top.
- Add aromatics to the pot of oil.
- Turn the stove on to medium heat. You want the oil to be hot enough that tiny bubbles form from the aromatics steadily. The oil will be around 240 degrees Fahrenheit or 115 degrees Celsius.
- Let spices infuse for between 30 and 60 minutes, watching the whole time to ensure spices aren’t cooking too slowly or quickly.
- If you use non-dry ingredients, such as garlic cloves, you may need to remove them early to prevent burning.
- Remove oil from heat and pour through the metal fine mesh strainer over prepared chili flakes, catching aromatics in the strainer. Expect some bubbles to appear.
- Stir the chili flakes and oil.
- Add additional ingredients, such as raw garlic, sesame seeds, and salt. Avoid adding raw garlic if you intend to store the oil for a while.
- Store in an airtight container or jar in the fridge. You can expect your oil to last four to six months when stored correctly.
Tips & Tricks for Chili Oil Recipe
The temperature of the oil in the instructions is vital to proper infusion. If the oil is too hot, you may burn your other ingredients. However, overly cool oil will not extract the proper flavor from the ingredients, and you may end up with raw spices. Keep an eye out for spices browning too fast or unevenly.
Keeping the oil infusion steady is the key to success with this dish. You may have to play with the heat a little to keep up a steady simmer. A thermometer can make a big difference if you’re unfamiliar with this dish.
In some cases, even the lowest temperature on your stove will seem too hot. If that is the case, remove the oil from the stove every few minutes to cool it down.
Nutrition Information of Chili Oil Recipe
Nutrition information will vary somewhat depending on what you use in the dish. However, you can generally expect a similar range of metrics. Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional information in 1 tablespoon of chili oil:
- Calories: 118 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 1 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Fat: 13 g
- Sodium: 130 mg
Chili oil may seem like a deceptively simple ingredient. While the cooking process is not too difficult, the flavors are full of different layers of complexity. Chili provides the spice, oil provides the medium, and aromatics provide the character.
This chili oil is a staple ingredient that will transform your dishes.
It was good but not outstanding.
Easy to put together and tasty too!
I made this recipe as is and it’s delicious.