Want to know the most addictive addition to your dumplings, noodles and stir-fries? This: it’s my homemade chilli oil. A drizzle of this stuff can take a dish from good to great – and, since it’s DIY, you don’t even have to make it super spicy. Tailoring it to your heat level is what making things from scratch is all about! Pop some on your pasta, noodles, eggs… it’s pretty much chilli oil on everything!
This spicy oil elevates everything it touches. Why? Because it’s packed full of aroma and flavour: there’s Asian chilli powder, plus star anise, cardamom, Sichuan peppercorns and other toasted spices. I like to use an Asian chilli powder that has a mixture of powder and chilli seeds – search it out at an Asian grocer.
My recipe makes 1 cup of goodness, which you can store in an airtight jar in your pantry for up to a year.
• 1 cup neutral-tasting oil (e.g. peanut, rice bran, vegetable or canola)
• 4 whole star anise
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 2 bay leaves
• 3 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
• 8 cardamom pods
• ½ cup Asian chilli powder
• 2 tsp sea salt
Place the oil in a saucepan over low heat. While it’s warming up, toast the star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorns and cardamom pods in a separate small frying pan over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke. Then go ahead and add the spices to the warm oil.
Next, you’ll want to turn the heat under the oil up to medium and wait for the spices to gently sizzle, then cook them for 4-5 minutes. Once the time’s up, remove the pan from the heat and allow everything to cool for 5 minutes.
Now place the chilli powder and salt in a heat-proof jar or bowl. Strain the oil over the chilli salt mixture. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and star anise back into the oil mixture and gently stir. Allow to cool before storing your homemade chilli oil in an airtight jar.
Psst! If you reckon CRISPY is the superior texture, check out my chilli crisp recipe!
Kept right, it should be good for a year. It’s fine kept in the pantry, although the fridge is also fine.