I just made a new batch of this savory chili oil today. It fills our kitchen with a pleasant toasty spicy smell. Chili oil is one of the famous dishes in my hometown, Xi’An. Chili oil is a dish? That’s right; I am not joking. People in my hometown like to spread this freshly made chili oil on warm steamed buns as a main dish. Chili oil can be found in many Chinese salad dishes, especially rice noodle salad from my province, Shaanxi.
Shaanxi style chili oil and spice broth are the two key elements used to make the authentic rice noodle salad. The distinctive aromatic hot spicy flavor with the appetizing bright red color comes to mind when I think of chili oil. Luckily, Shaanxi style chili oil is just as easy to make as the spice broth.
The process and ingredients used in making chili oil can vary from province to province in China. For instance, Sichuan style chili oil uses four to five spices and the process takes more than 30 minutes; while Shaanxi style only uses one spice, crushed chili pepper or chili powder, and the process takes less than 5 minutes. To make this authentic Shaanxi style chili oil, you just need a few ingredients: chili pepper, canola oil, a pinch of salt, vinegar, and some sesame seeds.
Oil waves on the surface indicate the oil has reached the right temperature.
If you like hot spicy foods, chili oil is the simplest and most tasty way to flavor your dishes. I like to bring Chinese noodle salad spiced with this chili oil and spice broth to a potluck party. It is so popular that the bowl emptied very quickly. Both my American and Chinese friends love the taste.
- 1 cup canola oil
- ¼ cup crushed chili pepper
- (Optional) ⅛ tsp salt
- ½ tbs sesame seeds
- ¼ tsp apple cider vinegar or distilled vinegar
- Heat the oil in a frying pan till the oil just starts to smoke or waves start forming on the surface. Test by adding a pinch of crushed chili pepper in the oil; it should sizzle. Be careful not to overheat the oil.
- Remove the saucepan from heat. Add crushed chili pepper into the hot oil and give it a quick stir.
- Add sesame seeds and salt. Let the chili oil cool down for 30 seconds. Carefully add vinegar to the hot chili oil.
- Let the chili oil cool down to room temperature. Transfer the chili oil to a container. Seal and refrigerate.