I have a real treat for you with this one. Homemade chili oil, but it's not just oil. There is sediment involved. What is that exactly? Well, the sediment is from the onions, ginger, cloves and other ingredients you added to make this incredible chili oil with sediment. Chili oil is not that stuff you see on the shelves of your supermarket in the international aisle. It's doesn't run clear like that. It's got stuff in it. Let's break it down.
The whole reason I decided to attempt chili oil with sediment is because I wanted to make Dan-Dan Noodles. I saw it a year ago online and did a lot of reading about it. I won't get into my obsession with Dan-Dan noodles now. I'll save that for my Dan-Dan Noodle post which is coming soon. Okay, that might be too many Dan-Dan's for one paragraph!
This particular noodle recipe calls for chili oil with sediment. Now, I could have gone to an Asian market and purchased a jar. I realize this. But I am a bit of a picky pants with spice levels. I didn't want to buy a certain kind and have it be waaaaay too spicy. Alternatively, I didn't want it too mild either. Since I never bought this before, how would I know which one to buy? And then I thought, Stacey, you are a food blogger, why don't you just figure out how to make your own? Capital idea!
You Can Go Small or Big with Spice For This Chili Oil
So off I went down another internet rabbit hole researching how to make my own chili oil with sediment. This was actually a lot of fun! I figured out how to make a delicious oil that isn't too spicy, but you can make it spicier if you so choose. There are so many ingredients you can add I discovered. I also realized that I already had every conceivable ingredient on hand. My creation is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink delight and it came out better than I could have possibly imagined!
You most likely have half to three-quarters of these ingredients in your pantry right now. The other ingredients can be obtained at your local Asian market. In a pinch, if you don't have an Asian market nearby, you can order them on Amazon. I will warn you though - I have found with spices Amazon tends to be on the pricier side with certain items. Look for a deal if you go that route.
The recipe here, as it's printed, is fairly mild and not very spicy. If you want your mouth on fire, add a lot more red pepper flakes and that should do the trick! Don't be scared about the Sichuan peppercorn ingredient. Contrary to the name, I didn't find it very spicy.
Run-down of the Possible Unfamiliar Ingredients
When you buy new ingredients, read the labels. If it's an Asian market and the labels are in another language, they will still usually have a few English words, like "mild," "medium heat" or "hot." Some ingredients will let you know the spice level on the package and you can buy according to your spice preference. If you are not sure just ask for help. There are people all around us in this world - standing by to assist when needed. All you have to do is ask.
- Gochugaru: Korean chili flakes. These are fairly mild and have a nice smoky flavor.
- Kashmiri Red Chili Powder: This is also mild and has a slightly sweet flavor and is great for adding a nice red color.
- Gochujang: Korean chili paste. This is salty, slightly smoky, adds a nice depth of flavor. Also, I don't think this is too spicy, but this may be one of those ingredients where you need to read the spice level on the label. I believe at the store where I buy this, levels of spiciness are printed on the container. I use the mild one.
- Ground Sichuan Peppercorn: Mild spice, hint of citrus, has an earthy-type flavor.
- Star Anise: Right away the smell lets you know of the mild licorice flavor.
So there you have it! Testing this recipe was so much fun and I now LOVE having chili oil on hand for all sorts of things! You can keep in on the counter for a day or two, but ultimately it should go in the fridge. Add a spoonful to your fried eggs, grilled chicken, noodles (obviously), drizzle on vegetables or use as a stir fry topping. I always keep a bag of frozen pork dumplings in my freezer for when I don't feel like cooking. I steam them and drizzle with a little chili oil and they are awesome! You will find ways to incorporate this into your meals, trust me!
Looking for More International Delights? Ohhh, I've Got A Lot of Options for You:
- Dan Dan Noodles (the reason I made this chili oil in the first place)
- Chicken & Eggplant Stir Fry
- General Tso's Chicken with Trader Joe's Hack
- Korean Beef Bulgogi
- Anthony Bourdain's Macau-Style Pork Chop Sandwich
- Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
- Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage
- Ralphs Amazing German Meatball Soup
- Croque Monsieur: The Best Ham & Cheese Sandwich You'll Ever Eat
- Easy Restaurant Style Chicken Tikka Masala