Homemade chili oil is one of the those things where once you’ve made it, you wonder what on earth was stopping you making it. It’s so easy, and so good. All you need is a saucepan and a decent thermometer, and you can adjust the flavorings however you like.
We used to make flavored oils more often, but would make too much at once and have them go rancid when we couldn’t use them up in time. We’ve learned our lesson now, I think – small amounts only. It’s not like it’s hard to make more.
All of our chili oil recipes are from the wonderful China Moon cookbook by the incomparable Barbara Tropp. This one, which we made over the weekend to use in a noodle dish (coming soon to a blog near you), is basic enough to use in all sorts of things, but complex enough to really add a ton of flavor. You can use either just the flavored oil, or spoonfuls of the “goop”, depending on what you want. I also highly recommend her recipes for Chili-Orange Oil, Chili-Lemon Oil, and Ma-La Oil. And if you don’t have her book already, I strongly urge you to pick up a copy. This stuff is liquid gold.
China Moon Hot Chili Oil
Adapted (and very scaled down) from China Moon by Barbara Tropp
- 2 ½ Tbsp chile flakes (we ran out, but made more by running whole dried chiles through a spice grinder)
- 1 Tbsp fermented black beans, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- ½ Tbsp minced ginger
- ½ cup peanut oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
Combine everything in a heavy, non-aluminum saucepan. Bring to a burble over medium low heat – use a thermometer to get it between 225°-250°, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and scrape everything into a clean glass jar. Store at room temperature.