When I eat at an Asian restaurant, the first thing I look for when I sit down (or open my take-away bag, let’s be honest) is the chili oil. It’s one of my favorite all-time condiments and, as far as I’m concerned, one of the best parts about eating Asian food. I love the heat and umami combination, and not too long ago, I decided I wanted to start keeping Crispy Chili Oil on hand so that I could add it to every and any food I want.
I played around with a few different recipes before settling on a basic riff that I can adjust depending on what I have on hand and what I’m in the mood for. Sometimes, I just infuse some oil with chili flakes and salt and call it a day. More often, I throw in some peppercorn, mustard seed, fresh garlic and dehydrated onion for that extra punch of earthy, salty goodness.
I eat this stuff on basically everything, including pasta and protein, but it’s also great over eggs or on toast. Honestly? I can’t think of much that I wouldn’t eat it with. Here’s how to make it:
Crispy Chili Oil
- 1 cup flavorless oil
- 1 head peeled, minced garlic
- 2 tbsp dehydrated onion flakes *or minced shallots
- 2 tbsp chili flakes *use less for less heat
- 1 tbsp mixed peppercorns, roughly chopped *optional
- 1 tsp paprika *I prefer hot, but smoked or regular is fine
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds *or 1/2 tsp sesame oil, both are optional
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp honey *agave, syrup or sugar works here, all are optional
Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, add your spice mixture – except the paprika and salt – to the pan and cook until the garlic (and any other fresh ingedients) are on the verge of browning, about 2-3 minutes, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking until everything is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Before removing the pan from the heat, add the paprika and stir.
Off the heat, add your salt and sweetener, if you're using one, and stir to combine thoroughly. Store in a jar and keep it in the fridge for up to one month.
*Optional additions: cumin seeds, black or yellow mustard seeds, ginger, citrus, fish sauce or soy sauce.