NOVEMBER 16, 2020
Essential Cooking Condiment Part III – Chili Oil
an essential condiment if you like it hot
Making chili oil is easy and it takes only a few simple ingredients. I can remember chili oil all the way back to when I was a kid. Sitting in Chinese restaurants, I would sit there and stare at this mysterious bottle of death. Is it hot? Yes. How hot? Really hot. Will it burn my mouth? Yes! Yuck, I am never even going to touch the bottle or I might get burned.
WHAT CAN I USE CHILI OIL FOR?
I laugh thinking about the silliness and fear over a small glass jar of chili oil. As an adult it has become an essential condiment with certain dishes. There are many variations of chili oil used in Asian cooking from Japan through Southeast Asia. In Chinese cooking it is called la-yu with sesame oil in the recipe. Japanese call it rayu because there is no pronunciation for “la”. Other cuisines that enjoy spicy food have their own concoctions of bottled death. For one of our featured recipes we drizzle homemade chili oil over a hot steaming bowl of pork noodle soup. It is a necessity with dim sum and a great condiment for dumplings, rice dishes and Japanese gyoza.
PREPARING CHILI OIL
For the dried red chilis, I quickly pulsed them a few times in a spice grinder. Go slow because you want it chunky, not chili powder. Alternatively you can finely hand chop with a sharp knife.
Combine all of the ingredients in a small sauce pot over a medium high heat. Bring the mixture to a low boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove and cool. This can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. I recommend storing in the refrigerator if you don’t use it right away.
Extra Spicy: Add 1 more teaspoon of ichimi or cayenne pepper. Also try adding 3 chopped up Thai chilis to the mixture when it is cooking.
Chili Garlic Oil: Add 2 large cloves of garlic (finely minced) to the mixture when you have reduce the heat to a simmer.
Rayu Oil: Replace half of the oil with pure sesame oil.
Look for our upcoming post recipe for homemade taberu rayu. Enjoy!
*Tasting Notes: Ichimi is a spicy Japanese pepper that comes in a powdered form. If you are familiar with ichimi togarashi pepper which is a seven spice pepper mix, ichimi is the red pepper ingredient in the bottle.