Chilli crisp, homemade chilli oil… whatever you call it, I think we’re all in agreement that it’s a true flavour maker and elevates everything it touches to new heights. You may already be familiar with the very famous (and very delicious) Lao Gan Ma chilli crisp, but here’s the thing: everything always tastes better homemade, right? With that in mind, here’s how to make chili crisp from scratch. Get ready for flavour fireworks…
Follow the instructions below to ignite your tastebuds on fire. You’ll never do a fried egg without this stuff again…
This chilli crisp recipe makes roughly 4 cups. (Prefer things in video form? Watch how I make my own version of Lao Gan Ma chilli crisp below!)
100g (3.5 oz) dried red chillies* (I used Chinese dried red chillies I found in my local Asian grocery store, which were labelled as medium in heat. You could use whatever dried chillies you have in your area and choose how hot you’d like them.)
¼ cup crispy fried shallots
3 tbsp crispy fried garlic
3 whole star anise
4 green cardamom pods, crushed
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sea salt
2 chicken stock cubes, crumbled
8 garlic cloves, finely sliced
3 cups vegetable oil
Place the dried chillies in a food processor and give them a blitz until they’re roughly chopped. Next, transfer them to a sieve with medium-sized holes (you want them large enough for the chilli seeds to fall through). Holding it over a large tray, give the sieve a good shake so that the majority of the chilli seeds fall out, leaving the chopped dried chili pieces in the sieve. You may still have some seeds left in the sieve, which is fine. Discard the chilli seeds on the tray.
Pour the chopped chillies into a large heat-proof bowl. Now bung in your fried shallots, fried garlic, star anise, cardamom pods, ginger, sugar, salt and stock cubes. Set aside for later.
In a small saucepan, add the garlic and oil then place over a medium heat. Allow the oil to heat up and start sizzling. Gently continue cooking the garlic for another 2-3 minutes or until the garlic is just golden. Turn the heat off and allow the oil to cool for 2-3 minutes. Then carefully pour the warm oil over the chilli mixture. Mix until well combined.
Transfer the chilli oil mixture into jars and leave to cool. While I reckon it’s best served a day after making it, the flavour and colour will develop as it sits for longer. Store it in the fridge for up to two months – if you can make it last that long. It also doubles up as an excellent (and sustainable!) food gift for a loved one.