1 cup neutral-tasting oil (e.g. peanut, rice bran, vegetable or canola)
4 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
8 cardamom pods
½ cup Asian chilli powder*
2 tsp sea salt
Place the oil in a saucepan over low heat.
In a separate small frying pan, toast the star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorns and cardamom pods over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke. Then add the spices to the warm oil. Turn the heat under the oil up to medium and wait for the spices to gently sizzle. Cook at a gentle sizzle for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
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 in an airtight jar. Use within a year.
Asian chilli powder has a mixture of chilli powder and some chilli seeds. Find it an an Asian grocer.