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.

**Updated 1 November 2019: Have been tweaking this recipe! Also now with larger quantities.**


makes around ~ 3 cups

3 Tablespoons whole Sichuan peppercorns

1/2 cup fermented black beans

1 cup chopped garlic (around 30 cloves)

12 Tablespoon dried chilli flakes

2 cups Peanut oil or vegetable oil.

1/4 cup Chinese rose wine (or substitute shaoxing cooking wine)

1. Grind up the black beans, garlic in a food processor or mortar and pestle if you have the energy. Toast the sichuan peppercorns in a dry wok until fragrant and then grid up coarsely in a mortar and pestle. 

2. In a small saucepan or wok, put all the ingredients and mix, then slowly fry over a low heat stirring very frequently (can catch quite quickly) until sizzling and fragrant and the garlic is toasted and crispy but not burnt. Takes around 30-40 minutes. Take off the heat and add rose wine (careful it will bubble!). Scoop into sterilised jars.  Keep in the fridge once opened - an open jar theoretically keeps for ages but we go through jars like there's no tomorrow.

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