Condiments/Sauces

Sichuan Chili Oil – A Kitchen Staple

Sichuan Chili Oil
I know…this seems a random recipe post.

But this kitchen staple plays a big part in a recipe I’ll be posting soon in honor of Tết – the Lunar New Year that will arrive on Friday.

So you’ll want to DEFINITELY stay tuned!

Sichuan Chili Oil
Chili Oil, or in this case Sichuan Chili Oil, is a regular in many Asian cuisine recipes. I use it quite often in soups, stir-frys, dumplings, or as a stand-alone condiment.

Sichuan Chili Oil
And although there are many different jars of it that you can easily buy, homemade is always better–and it’s super easy!

Sichuan Chili Oil
The core of this is the use of whole Sichuan peppercorns that can be easily found at most Asian grocery stores or online. The peppercorns are fragrant and carry a wonderful heat.

To start, the Sichuan peppercorns and dried spices are slowly heated to infuse the oil.

Sichuan Chili Oil
After about an hour, the whole shabang is poured over chili flakes and a bit of salt—and boom!

Aromatic and floral Sichuan Chili Oil!

Sichuan Chili Oil
The oil can be kept in your fridge for a year—but I doubt it’ll keep that long!

Pro Tip? Double the batch and give some away as gifts!

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Sichuan Chili Oil
Makes approximately 21⁄4 cups

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole cloves
5 whole star anise
4 dried bay leaves
1 whole cinnamon stick
2 cups vegetable oil (or something neutral in flavor)
2 whole garlic cloves, smashed
1 inch piece fresh ginger, cut into slices
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup Sichuan chili flakes

In a small stainless steel* saucepan, heat the peppercorns, coriander, cloves, star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and oil over medium heat.  Once the oil begins to bubble, bring the heat down to low. Allow the oil to infuse over low heat for one hour, stirring every 5-10 minutes. The aromatics should not get too dark so you’ll need to adjust the heat as needed.

After an hour, add the garlic and ginger and raise to medium-low heat. Allow it to bubble and infuse for an additional 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Allow the oil to cool for 1-2 minutes.

Place the salt and chili flakes in a heatproof bowl and place a strainer on top. Slowly pour the infused oil through the strainer. Remove the strainer and discard the spices. Stir the oil well and allow to cool completely before transferring it to a jar or other container. The oil can be stored in refrigerator for a year.

*You’ll want to use a light bottom pan so that you can see if the oil and spice are getting too dark.

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