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Chili oil

yuanzhoulv Oct 22, 2008 09:37 AM

A lot of online sources say you can buy chili oil at chinese restaurants. Has anyone tried to do this in Boston or know any good places to get it from, and is it significantly better than the commercially bottled stuff?

  1. z
    Zatan Aug 26, 2009 11:54 AM

    Depends too on how you intend to use it....as a dipping sauce, I'd prefer to use the kind found in restaurants, with the flakes (and obviously toasted) they call la jiu or "hot sauce". For cooking I'd use the clear bottled kind, though I suppose you can simply strain the flakes out if desired. I keep both kinds around, I somehow always think of them as different beasts. You can find both at any decent Chinese grocery if you don't want to make it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Zatan
      theparegorickid Aug 27, 2009 12:29 AM

      la jiu I believe refers to korean chili paste (gochujang) 고추장
      la jiao you 辣椒油 is hot chili oil
      never found a supermarket brand that was suitable for dipping or as a condiment
      but some Chinese friends of mine use Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chili Oil as such
      easy enough to make
      F. Dunlop's recipe works fairly well
      but, most restaurants would be happy to sell you a larger amount than what they normally give you on the side
      Hong Kong Eatery makes a good one
      the better chinese restaurants make it in house

    2. m
      macadamianut Oct 22, 2008 01:43 PM

      I was at super 88 in Allston last week and saw that they had some. It is very spicy and you need very little. I sometimes would buy toasted sesame oil that they added chili oil too but it over powered what I was making. Most Asian markets have it.

      1. Sgt Snackers Oct 22, 2008 09:59 AM

        Just make your own. Put a couple of cups of peanut oil into a saucepan with a tablespoon or two of chili pepper flakes. Bring it up to high heat for a few minutes then let it cool down, and bottle it with the chilies. Tastes better than commercial stuff and is dirt cheap.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Sgt Snackers
          Rubee Oct 22, 2008 02:28 PM

          That's basically how I do it now - heat up peanut oil with a slice of ginger, then pour it over crushed chili. Report of recipe here:


          I also always keep a bottle in the pantry. I like Lian How brand, which I bought at Super 88 the last time (two ingredients - soy bean oil and chili).

          Homemade, and storebought:

          1. re: Rubee
            tmab Oct 25, 2008 10:59 AM

            If you ask for extra hot sauce at the Sichuan Garden in Billerica, they will bring you chili oil that has good heat and some nice smokey flavor. They roast or fry the crushed chili until it is quite dark. The oil may be similar in color to the storebought and homemade verions in Rubee's picture, but the mixture that settles on the bottom looks quite different.

            I don't know if they sell it, but I have gotten extra hot sauce to go with large take out orders.

            1. re: tmab
              Aromatherapy Oct 25, 2008 02:10 PM

              I've gotten extra chili flakes in oil at several restaurants (e.g., Wang's, Chilli Garden), including in little cups with with takeout orders, so I suppose they'd sell you some. These days I just make it using Fuschia Dunlop's method--pour not quite smoking oil (225-250 degrees) over chili flakes (I use a jelly jar). She uses 1/4 c. chili per c. of oil.

            2. re: Rubee
              magic Aug 26, 2009 11:46 AM

              Crap! I basically just let some dried chiles infuse in canola oil. I didn’t warm the oil beforehand. Will my oil come out tasting different/bad?

              1. re: magic
                kobuta Aug 26, 2009 11:55 AM

                Not sure if it will taste bad, but I don't know how well cold/room temperature oil can absorb the flavors of the chili.

                1. re: kobuta
                  magic Aug 26, 2009 12:02 PM

                  Hmm, thanks.

                  I guess I’ll have to wait and see. I began infusing it a few days ago. Just checked today and while I didn’t get much flavor it sure was hot as hellfire, and the color was nice. Maybe it needs more time to infuse to get the flavor up. Or maybe, yeah, I should start over and warm the oil up next time. Maybe add some other flavor agents too. Like soy, sesame oil, or ginger….

                  1. re: magic
                    hotoynoodle Aug 26, 2009 01:57 PM

                    heat up the stuff you already have. just barely, then let sit.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      magic Aug 27, 2009 05:50 AM

                      Okay, thanks. Will do.

          2. ScubaSteve Oct 22, 2008 09:53 AM

            i think most places use a commercial product. for just regular chili oil i think the C-Mart has a few available.

            but you can do it yourself. it's just chilis, and oil. sometimes the oil is a blend but mostly it's a neutral oil (like peanut or canola) and maybe a little sesame oil.

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