This Sichuan chili oil recipe is a staple in my home. We use it on everything from pizza, to eggs, to the obvious Asian stir fries and soups. If you have been a fan of the Siracha craze consider this an upgrade. But it is considerably hotter and more complex than the sriracha. My advice for the first time user is to start with a small amount or alter the chili level in your recipe mix. This Sichuan chili oil recipe is authentic and direct from the Sichuan region of China. They are known for their fiery flavors. A colder part of China, they are also home to such famous recipes as Chinese Hot Pot, Kung Po Chicken, and Ma Po Tofu. This oil will make all these dishes considerably more authentic in flavor. It also gives a unique experience of your mouth tingling and numbing from the Sichuan peppercorns. It has no substitute and must be fresh to do its work!
My recipe comes directly from a native Sichuan friend who came to America to visit. She made this with me in my own kitchen. As neither of us spoke much of the others language, it was very much a “show not tell” recipe exchange. I find that cooking together often transcends language.
You can create something together by showing how finely you need something minced and then handing over the knife. Then at the end you can sit together smiling and slurping to enjoy the result. I also had the pleasure of learning to make authentic dumplings for Chinese New Year this way. Such great memories. I offered up southern Chicken and Dumplings in return. (A huge hit by the way). Culture exchange at its finest!
Sichuan So in honor of my visually obtained recipe- I give you a visual recipe to follow. Feel free to alter the level of ingredients to your personal taste. More sesame seeds perhaps with less chilis. Or less ginger and more garlic. Its a recipe that is as varied as the cook who makes it. You can alter how much of each ingredient you use based on how much finished oil you want. It keeps very well both in or out of the refrigerator. I make a lot so this recipe will show you how to make a large jar. I begin by chopping and prepping all my ingredients. Then I heat my oil to allow a bit of “cooking” when I add in my first set of ingredients. You may do this either in microwave or stovetop. You don’t want to burn the ingredients but just hot enough that you can hear a little sizzle as you add them to the bowl.
- My recipe measurements for this batch are – I cup fine chili, 1/2 ginger, 1/3 cup of garlic, 1/3 cup ground Sichuan peppercorn, 1/4 cup each of coarse ground chili, chili shreds, and scallions.(This is a dish with great texture as well as flavor, so the different types of chili help that, but you could use all of one if desired.)
- I use a coffee grinder to grind up my Sichuan peppercorns. Then I put them through a wire sieve to prevent adding hulls and pebbles. My Chinese friend simply did a rough chop and just added them in. I found this a bit much in flavor and texture.and occasional bit down on a pebble. The choice is yours.
- Heat one bottle of canola or grapeseed oil to low simmer then add all these ingredients. Stir to mix and “cook”.
- Now add next set of ingredients. These do not require heat as much. !/3 cup dark soy sauce, 1/4 chicken broth concentrate ( wet or dry and can sub vegetable), 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, 1/4 c black Chinese or balsamic vinegar.
- Taste and adjust as desired. Sesame seeds are sometimes added and are beneficial if you need a little less heat. Salt can also be added – depends on bouillon sodium and soy if it needs it. I have developed a tolerance for the stuff and try mine on a lettuce leaf or cucumber. You may want to try on noodles or in broth to dilute! You may want to have a beer or glass of milk at the stand by.You have been warned. It is super spicy but in the best possible and most complex way. And you might just find it addictive. I do!
Obviously this chili oil is great on Chinese dishes from stir fries to soups to dumplings. It is what I used for my post on Szechuan Eggplant Recipe
on the Evo grill. But I also like it on other things. Much like how Sriracha has crept outside its Asian origins. You will find me putting a little on everything from eggs to pizza to grits or that other southern classic – pimento cheese. Whenever I’m craving a spicy hit I turn to it. And it never disappoints. Enjoy and let me know if you find any new ways to use it. I love hearing back from you.
Here is a classic use of the chili oil. It’s a Kung Po Chicken recipe winner from Food 52 blog. I like to use a little in the prep and then offer small bowls tableside to suit individual heat preferences. Tenderizing the Meat
- 2 chicken thighs, deboned and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (if yours are tiny, you may want to throw in 1-2 more)
- 1/2teaspoon beaten egg
- 2teaspoons cornstarch
- 1pinch salt
- 1teaspoon chinese cooking wine
- 2teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 2teaspoons brown sugar
- 1tablespoon chinese dark vinegar
- 1tablespoon cornstarch
- 6tablespoons of water or stock
- 1 generoushandfuls of peanuts
- 2 green onions, chopped into 1-inch lengths
- 4 garlic cloves, skin removed, smashed and chopped
- 6 slices of ginger
- 8 red dried chiles, chopped
- 4teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
- 1/2cup vegetable oil
For cooking instructions click link to Food 52
You may never eat a bowl of noodles with out it again. I know I don’t. Here’s a great noodle recipe from epicurious for “Blow Your Chinese take Out out of the Water” lo mein to try when our ready to move beyond take out lo mein.( If not feel free to just upgrade your take out with your homemade sauce!)