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Oct 22, 2008 09:37 AM

Chili oil

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?

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  1. 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.

    1. 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

        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

          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

            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

            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

              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

                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

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

        2. 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. Depends too on how you intend to use 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

              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