I always ensure I have a jar of chili oil in the cupboard at all times. This is my favourite one to make. I normally make 1L+ at a time and give a couple jars away as gifts.
You can do this the quick way and infuse for only 20mins but the longer you leave it the more flavour will come out of the spices. It is worth spending the time on.
Infuse spices (not salt or chili flakes) in oil for 20–30 mins. Start on medium and when sizzling bring down to super low. Longer infusions lead to more flavour, but also an increased risk of burning the spices. Don’t do that.
Get hot and pour
Once sufficiently infused turn the heat back up to medium for 40s, then pour hot oil through a sieve onto the chili flakes and salt (obviously use a heatproof bowl).
Stir like a crazy person
Stir like a madman to ensure all chili gets the toasty goodness.
Jar and Chill
Then let cool to room temp, put in a jar and enjoy. The flavours develop over time so it will taste best after a couple of days. I like to put the cinnamon sticks and star anise back into the jars for more flavour. I'm not sure if it does anything but it looks cool.
This chili oil will keep almost indefinitely.
- An Asian grocer is your friend, you could find all of this at a good supermarket but an Asian grocer will often be cheaper.
- Seriously don't burn the spices, keep the oil temp low. I prefer to go much lower for longer rather than risking the burn.
- The sichuan pepper when cooked like this has a super strong smell, get the exhaust fan pumping!
- I experimented using chili powder in addition to flakes. It just burnt when I poured the hot oil over. Flakes can standup to a lot more heat than powder. Chili powder can be great for making the colour more red, I recommend adding it slightly after pouring the oil over.
- Use fresh spices, or if yours are old, use more to make up for the lack of potency.