Ever wonder how that little bottle of chili sauce was made in a Chinese restaurant? How did fresh chilies turn into such pungent and spicy sauce? Let me show you.
Homemade Chinese chili sauce and Sichuan peppercorn oil -
1/2 pack of Sichuan chili powder
1/2 pack of Sichuan peppercorn
1 bottle of vegetable oil
1 big ginger root
Some sea salts
I actually got this big pack of Sichuan chili powder from my dad. Supposedly you can find similar items from a Chinese grocery store. However, if nothing can be found then you might have to make the sauce from scratch.
Sun dried fresh chilies, try to select those smaller Asian chilies with vibrant red color. Once fully dehydrated, remove the stems and shake off most the seeds inside. Grind the chilies into powder.
Transfer the chili power into a heat resistant container, I use thick glass jars here. Add about 1 to 2 teaspoons of sea salts into the container and mix well.
Pour in about one medium sized bottle of vegetable oil into a deep pot. Other types of oil are ok, but try to use the ones with less distinct aroma. For example, choose regular olive oil instead of fruity extra virgin olive oil.
Slice the ginger and toss into the pot. Turn to medium heat and cook till the ginger slices appear slightly brown on the edges. Turn off the heat and wait till the temperature drops.
I waited till no more bubbles are presenting in the pot. Slowly pour the oil into the jar till all the chili powder is submerged under the oil. Take a chopstick or fork to stir the mixture. The oil should be absorbed by the powder, make sure there's enough oil above the chilies. About 1:3, oil: chilies portion.
As for the Sichuan peppercorn, pour them onto a pan. Turn to medium heat to roast them gently. This will help in bringing out the aroma.
The remaining oil in the pot should cool down completely by now. Remove the ginger slices and pour into the pan. Use medium low heat to fry the peppercorns. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes. Don't overdo it, otherwise the oil will turn bitter and carry an unpleasant sticky taste.
Drain out the peppercorn and pour into another container. If you're looking for a more numbing sensation from the peppercorn oil, some people actually grind the peppercorn and let it soak in low temperature oil instead.
How I use my chili sauce?
- Use in stir fry dishes
- Noodle sauce (my favorite*)
- Fried rice seasonings
- Be creative!
How I use my Sichuan peppercorn oil?
- Drizzle on top of Asian omelette (my favorite*)
- Drizzle on top of mapo tofu
- Noodle sauce
- Be creative!