Monday, 8 April 2019

Seriously Addictive Chinese Chilli Oil

Floral fragrant Sichuan peppercorns, dried chill flakes, garlic and fermented black beans slowly toasted in oil. This chilli oil might not be much to look at but it packs a massive punch of flavour and nostalgia. You will find chilli oil like this in pretty much any side street noodle shop or dumpling joint in Hong Kong. There are a million different versions, each region will have some different take on it, every restaurant will have their own special twist on this classic condiment.

This recipe I’m sharing is adapted from a recipe from a family friend’s grandfather. My dad was a chilli fiend and we would always have a jar in the fridge at home. I remember feeling so proud when I could handle having some with my noodles as a kid because it meant I was just like dad.

We pretty much use it on everything: spooned liberally over dumplings, stirred through noodles, mixed through veges, eggs, chicken/pork/fish, mixed with soy sauce, black vinegar and finely chopped spring onions over shellfish. Be warned it’s seriously addictive.


makes around 1 cup

1 Tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine

1 Tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, ground in mortar and pestle

2 heaped Tablespoons fermented black beans

3 Tablespoon chopped garlic (around 10 cloves)

4 Tablespoon dried chilli flakes

~ 3/4 cup Peanut oil or vegetable oil - to cover plus about 1cm oil on top. You want around 2:1 "bits" to oil.

1. Grind up the black beans, garlic, chilli flakes and shaoxing wine in a food processor or mortar and pestle if you have the energy. I usually grind up the sichuan peppercorns in the mortar and pestle to get bigger bits. 

2. In a small saucepan or wok, put all the ingredients and mix, then slowly fry over a low heat stirring frequently until sizzling and fragrant and the garlic is toasted and crispy but not burnt. Takes around 5 -10 minutes. Allow to cool. Keeps in a jar in the fridge for months.

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