Tonight, I finally accomplished a kitchen feat I’d been wanting to try for a long time, but had just never dedicated the energy to do: make my own chili oil.
I always admired the dumpling shops I’d go to and how their chili oil always tasted infinitely better than the store-bought ones I’d been buying all these years. The ones in the dumpling shops always seemed multi-dimensional, tasting of more than just chili oil. It was as though they had a hint of salt, ginger, and some other spices and nuttiness that I couldn’t quite pin down.
So I started researching chili oil recipes and came to one that seemed like it had the right combination: ground chilies, ginger, sesame seeds, star anise, cardamom pods, salt, oil. The oil is cooked on a medium flame with the ginger and spices, and then once it reaches a certain temperature, you pour it over the chilies and sesame seeds, “toasting” them and infusing them with their spiced flavors.
The result ended up being a lot more fiery than I was anticipating, so I had to temper it down with some extra plain oil. Even Chris found it a bit too hot, which is saying something. I’m never buying store-bought chili oil ever again.. especially now that I have so much Costco oil. 🙂