Monday, March 17, 2014

Pristine Homemade Chili Oil

Store-bought chili oil slams your palate with harsh heat and off flavors from various additives. Fortunately, balanced, slow-burning chili oil is very easy to make at home. Plus, you'll know exactly what's in it, unlike that sketchy bottle on the shelf of the local Asian grocery.

This recipe calls for a spice grinder, which you will undoubtedly want to clean after grinding the chilies. A good trick is pulsing a spoonful of rice until finely ground; it will pick up all the oils and leftover bits of chili pepper. Dump out the rice and wipe down the grinder with a damp paper towel.

Pristine Homemade Chili Oil

Cooking Time
~12 hours (5 minutes active)

1 2/3 cups

Spice grinder
Fine mesh strainer

100g (3 cups) whole dried Thai/Bird's eye chilies
500 ml (2 cups) grapeseed oil or other neutral oil

1. Grind chilies in a spice grinder until medium-fine; they should resemble red pepper flakes. The chili dust can make you sneeze when you take the lid off the spice grinder, so you should work in a well-ventilated area or open a window.

2. Combine ground chilies and oil in a saucepan and simmer over very low heat for 4 hours. If the oil bubbles, turn the temperature down. 

3. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

4. Pass oil through a fine mesh strainer. To get the last drops of oil out of the ground chilies, place a sheet of plastic wrap over them and weigh down with a heavy can for about 30 minutes, or until oil is no longer dripping through the strainer. Discard chilies. Store oil in refrigerator, where it will keep for several months.

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