Try Making Sichuan Chili Oil at Home, It's Fun!

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For virtually everyone who loves spicy food, Sichuan chili oil is a favorite. It adds a flavor burst to everything it touches and has a deliciously spicy taste. It's easy to order a bottle from your favorite online Chinese market, but it's also fun and interesting to make your own at home. The other advantage of DIY chili oil is that you control the flavor profile. The base oil you use needs to have a neutral flavor, and you can select from several options. They include canola, soybean, peanut, or grapeseed. When you spice them up, you don't want anything adding an unneeded taste. Pure spiciness is the end goal.

For most at-home cooks, the most enjoyable part of making chili oil DIY is picking out the chili peppers to use. Those who want to stick with tradition go for Chao Tian Jiao or Jing Tao. But there is no reason to limit yourself to those because gochugaru from Korea is an excellent alternative. What you want to accomplish most is mixing up a batch of spicy oil precisely to your liking. Branch out and try other ingredients if you enjoy them, such as Aleppo chilis, cayenne pepper, or even Arbol chilis. If you've been trying other peppers or reading up on the topic, you may have others to include in your home recipe.

The most significant reason that spice lovers enjoy Sichuan chili oil is the richness and complexity of its flavor. Therefore, expanding your ingredient list can bring delicious and unique results. You might choose to add garlic, scallions, shallots, ginger, or onions for added aroma. As you make each batch, experiment with the quantities until you arrive at the amount you like the best. You can add herbs to the list if you choose. For example, some people include extra flavor ingredients like ginseng or shitake mushrooms. Nearly everyone includes some Sichuan pepper, Chinese five-spice, cloves, cassia, or anise.

The point is to experiment initially and keep going until you have a recipe for a DIY hot chili oil that you love and enjoy keeping on hand. You may have read about it already, but in case not, some chefs add a dash of soy sauce and to their hot oil to give it added savoriness. It's a given that you'll modify the ingredients as you go along and learn more about what you like or not. It's also common to warm the oil before using it to bring out the flavors. Adding dried versions of ingredients like the shallots is another popular idea. You're making something that is supposed to be noticeable, so don't be timid. 


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