Over the years I have developed a taste for spicy food. Specifically, hot sauce. But not just hot, it’s gotta have flavor. And I don’t like any of that ketchupy sriacrha nonsense. At first when I got something called “hot oil” at the Chinese food restaurant I was a little afraid. No vinegar? No sugar? Big chunks of dried peppers? I started by gingerly using only the oil portion and tossing the solids.
But, somehow over the years I have developed a taste for globs of this stuff. Put in on my vegetables, put it on my meat, put it in my soup and noodles and salad. I would buy a jar of the plainest chili oil I could find and, a couple weeks later, it’s all gone. Spooning an enormous glob of this feared condiment as onlookers gasp and cover their children’s eyes makes me feel like a circus freak and a superhero all rolled up into one. An expensive habit. And why do they always make it so salty and oily? It became a gamble – each brand was different. One had tomato in it – not my thing. Too much variation in the market and too much risk. Time to make my own.
We went down to the Mexican grocery store and were floored by the range of dried peppers available. One of this kind and one of that kind; part of the adventure. Little ones get the stem popped off; big ones get beheaded and shaken to remove the seeds. We got a variety of peppers, including bird’s eye chili and guajillo peppers. You can use any type of dried peppers; they’re all going to taste a little bit different, and it will be fun to experiment.
I like adding freeze dried onion and garlic in there and a little pinch of MSG (don’t look at me like that). Here’s our recipe, but this type of flavor is a personal one. Use your tongue to guide you. Good to enjoy right away, but it tastes best after it sits for a couple days to stew. Build your tolerance. Develop your addiction to chili oil.
Hot Chili Oil
10 cups whole dried chili peppers
1-2 cups mild flavored oil (i.e. olive oil, grape seed oil, avocado oil)
1 tbsp salt
~1/4 tsp optional spices to taste: freeze dried onions, garlic powder, msg, sesame oil, etc.
Add chilis into pan for toasting on medium heat; keep it moving as to not burn any!
Add toasted chili’s into blender with 1 cup oil, salt, and optional seasonings/spices.
Optional: Freeze dried onion, garlic, MSG, other spices/seasoning
Grind on speed 3-4 depending on texture preference (3 = bigger pieces of pepper, 4 = smaller pieces)
Add more oil as needed – add less for a cookie dough texture if you like the solid bits (what I like), add more for cake batter texture if you like it more oily (like how the stores sell it).
Store in refrigerator.