Friday, February 17, 2012

How to make chili oil?

Who doesn't love the Chinese cuisine? I was not surprise to hear my local news yesterday, talking about The President who stopped for a takeout in SFO Chinatown. Hope he enjoyed the dumplings.
In my house is different, I like Chinese cuisine but the rest of my family tend to like more the Americanized Chinese cuisine aka Panda express. They blindly order the spicy Kung pao chicken and I have never seen both of them changing their menu choice in so many years. I tried few times to recreate but didn't came close- looked for answer in ingredients lists. Probably the chili oil gives a tingly, spicy, nutty flavor has a pivotal role. I bought a small chili oil bottle with big price tag. I started using for omelet, fried rice, salad. As my frequency of use and love for spicy oil increased, I just made at home which is economical and fairly easy. I got inspired by this Sichuan Chili oil and made with Indian long chili. I has the kick of pepper and aroma from Toasted sesame oil.

Do you know the difference between toated sesame oil and untoasted sesame oil?
Sesame oils
Toasted sesame oil is predominantly used in Chinese cuisine and untoasted sesame oil aka Gingelly oil is used in Indian Cuisine.
Untoasted oil: well known for preserving food without refrigeration in Indian cuisine. It is lighter in color and smell, main ingredient to make pickles, rice varieties, tamarind based gravy. Tamilian treasure this oil for many use including for hair and body massage for cooling effect.
Toasted sesame oil: distinguished by the strong aroma and darker in color. The oil is pressed from toasted seeds, used in Chinese Cuisine for dipping, drizzling, etc... the oil is always for final touch unlike the untoasted one.

Chili oil

 Chili Oil

  • Vegetable oil : 1 cup
  • Sesame oil* (toasted dark one): 1 to 2 tbsp
  • Freshly crushed Chili flakes: 1/4 cup (can be reduced
    according your heat tolerance)
Needed other cooking tool but not necessary

Candy thermometer or be vigilant + a fine strainer


  1. Keep a clean bottle ready.
  2. Crushed the chili pepper in mixer /spice grinder or mortar and
    pestle. I used the Indian long variety
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in medium heat until the thermometer
    read 200 Fahrenheit to 220 F. If no thermometer : keep exactly 5 minutes for
    this quantity, the oil should not be
  4. Switch off the stove
  5. Add the sesame oil + the chili flakes
    If no thermometer watch out , while dropping the chili
    It should not be fuming- just a small sizzling sound for
  6. Let it rest at least 2 hours to overnight. The
    more the spicier the oil will be- so it is your choice.
  7. Once cooled strained with a fine mesh and store in cleaned
  8. The oily chili flakes can be used in cooking so store
    in another clean box .
  9.  Store in refrigerator for safe food precaution and longer
    shelf life but mine is in cool and dark place after use.

 If you don't use much in short period , halve the quantity
But the oil disappear in no time with salad, soup, pasta,
fried noodle, stir fry and fried egg too.

I will post few recipes later one.

 Note: if the oil is very hot- the chili flakes will burn.

*Can be omitted but you don't get the real nutty aroma
of Chinese cuisine.

Chili oil

View of different steps of chili infused oil.

Note: My chili oil contains toasted sesame oil, one needs to acquire in my opinion to like the taste and smell.

Have a great Long weekend.


kitchen queen said...

nice informative post and thanks for sharing.

notyet100 said...

Wow even I luv spicy food,..where did u get sesame oil,...

Shabitha Karthikeyan said...

Wonderful post, awesome pictures. Should give it a try !! Waiting for the recipes using this oil !!

Cham said...

Priyanka:The sesame oil is available in regular grocery aisle, comes in small bottle or any Chinese stores.

Kanan said...

eye-catching pictures. and very informative post.

Home Cooked Oriya Food said...

love the color of the oil... looks spicy!
Now waiting for the recipes with this...

sra said...

Guess I'll try this with the ordinary oil. I sometimes use the oil from the top of the mango pickle to fry and egg or a dosa - it's great!

G.Pavani said...

very good info.thanks dear.

Sumi said...

generally I use our regular sesame oil for everything from puli kuzhambhu to fried rice and noodles.
Toasted sesame oil is something new to me. I will watch out for those small bottles in my grocery shopping :)

Rahin said...

Hi Cham, v interesting post, like the whole presentation esp, how you have placed your logo on the oil bottle pic,v nice :)

hemalata said...

Very interesting post.

Laavanya said...

Love that colour Cham... I can imagine how awesome this must be with noodles or fried rice.

Anu said...

WOW!! Lovely oil with nice color.

Sumi said...

I came across the toasted sesame oil in the stores and got remainded of your post, got it immediately.Made fried rice today and it made a huge diffrence in the taste when compared to the regular sesame oil that I have been using.
Thanks for that, see this is why I love blogging, learning new things always :)