Two versions of Chinese chili oil.
In different Chinese cuisine especially Sichuan cuisine, condiments and seasonings are quite important. Since chili pepper and Sichuan peppercorn are the most two important condiments in Sichuan cuisine. Besides, combined Szechuan style chili oil is also an important seasoning, not shining but indispensable to your kitchen.
Red oil(红油) is the oil cooked with red chili pepper until the color becomes red. Generally there are two types of red oil used in many Chinese dishes. One is pure oil which means that all the substances are filtered and only oil is left. And the second type, as you guess is that all the substances are kept.
As for the usage, it depends on the recipe but sometimes your own choice too. Red oil with chili powder can create a more spicy feeling or appearance while red oil can hide the basic ingredients. You may find some dishes taste hot but no spices are seen directly.
The condiment red oil with chili powder can be considered as the necessary part of many famous Sichuan dishes such as Sichuan cold noodles, Sichuan dumplings, Sichuan wonton soup and nice street food: Dan Dan Noodle.
The traditional red oil with chili powder add many other spices besides chili pepper powder such as star anise, cassia bark, fennel, ginger, Sichuan peppercorn, Tsao kuo, bay leaves and etc. All the ingredients are pulverized firstly and then hot oil is poured in. The hot temperature helps the ingredients to release their aroma.
Then here comes our firstly ultimate version today. Prepare dried chili pepper, star anise, roasted sesame seed, Sichuan peppercorn, cassia bark and ginger slices as below. Do adjust the amount accordingly. And then stir-fry the dried chili pepper and Sichuan peppercorn in the wok with small fire until you can small the taste. Move them out and cool down and grind into powder. (You may also purchase chili powder directly). Then add sesame seeds in.
Prepare a wok and heat up 2 tablespoons oil with star anise, ginger slices and cassia bark. Then pour the hot oil in the bowl with the chili powders.
- 4 oz dried chili pepper
- 3~5 star anise
- 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorn
- 1 inch cassia bark
- 1 inch root ginger sliced
- 2 cups--3 cups peanuts oil
- Add Sichuan peppercorn and dried chili to a wok. Use slow fire to stir-fry until the chili pepper becomes crispy on the surface.
- Transfer them out to a food processor and grind into powder.
- In a large bowl, mix chili powders with roasted sesame seeds.
- Heat up peanuts oil in wok. Add cassia bark, star anise and ginger slices in to stir-fry until you can see the waves on the surface of the oil. Pick other ingredients out and only leave the oil in.
- Pour the hot oil carefully into the bowl with chili powders. Set aside for at least 2 hours (based on the room temperature)to cool down and let the oil absorb the spicy taste and present the red color.
- Use a filter to remove dregs to get the pure chili oil.
This is no salt version, if you want your chili oil has some salty taste, add 1 teaspoon of salt with the chili powders.
Do not want to brother that much? Here is a simplified version.
Purchase chili powder, Sichuan peppercorn powder , five spice powder and sesame seeds directly. Then mix them together with a proportion of 5(chili powder):1(Sichuan peppercorn):1(five spice powder):2 (sesame seeds)or similar. This is a basic guideline for large amounts. But it is totally up to you to adjust the amount according to unique taste requirements. Put all the powders in a blow. Add ginger slices and star anise.
Heat up oil as needed in wok and then pour directly in the bowl with the spice powders. For this version, just keep the ingredients in the bowl. It is really easy! I do not make a large amount at a time because of the simplicity. I have used this in many of my recipes like Szechan style noodles.
About how much oil to be added: in fact, there is no strict standard for how much oil you should added. A common range is 6 to 10 times of chili powder. I would recommend starting with 1 cup of cooking oil (around 250ml)
For 1 cup of oil, you will need
- 3-4 ginger slices
- 1 star anise
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Wait for around 1 day or 2 days, the red oil will present itself. Happy cooking and thanks for visiting.