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1 cup of high-heat sunflower or safflower oil
A 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, scrubbed and sliced into thin coins
1 scallion, chopped into a few pieces
In a small pot heat all ingredients except the chili flakes over very low heat. For more heat and color add 1 tablespoon of chili flakes at this stage. Once it has infused for about 30 minutes gradually raise the heat until the scallions and ginger stop bubbling (this means you have driven off all the residual water which is essential for shelf-life).
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then strain* and add the oil to the chili flakes. Stir well, allow to steep until it cools to room temp (a couple hours), then store in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge for up to six months. You can vary the amount of heat you add to a dish by choosing how much chili flake you scoop out (they will mostly settle to the bottom).
* The leftover strained spices are great mixed into a broth to start a hot pot. If you don't plan to do this right away keep them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
• This technique works great for making oils with different flavors. One fun one I like to make uses: garlic slices, shallots, a slice of grapefruit, cilantro stems, and dhania. Once these have simmered, strain and mix with a few tablespoons of Shabazi N38.
• There is a pretty new Japanese product called taberu rayu. To approximate it I like to take this chili oil and mix it with, more Aleppo pepper, crispy fried shallots, fried garlic, sesame seeds, a pinch of sugar, and a bit of miso. It's absolutely delicious and finds its way onto a lot of my plates.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
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