Use this wonderful homemade garlic chilli oil to add a little something special to your favourite dishes. Dip it, drizzle it, fry in it – if you like a bit of spice you won’t be able to get enough of this delicious oil.
This garlic chilli oil is so simple to make and takes hardly any time at all. I like to make a large batch and keep it on hand in the pantry to add a touch of something extra to our dishes. Delicious when freshly made, the flavour of this lovely condiment intensifies over time making the last drops of the jar quite spectacular.
And if you use a bland oil as the base, it’s so versatile too. Drizzle a tablespoon of this delicious garlic chilli oil over risotto or pasta dishes before serving. Spoon a little into a small dish with some soy sauce to dip freshly steamed dumplings, yum cha style. Use it as your cooking oil in a stir fry or fried rice.
The trick with making this oil is to gently infuse the chill and garlic flavour into the oil. Its not a long process, but its not something you want to rush. Gentle heat is key. The oil should be heated so gently that the garlic cloves don’t take on any colour but do release their heady garlic flavour into the oil.
You should only see a slight shimmering on the surface of the oil and perhaps a few tiny bubbles forming around the garlic and chillies. You don’t want to hear any typical frying sounds or see much movement at all.
I have a jar of ‘chilli in oil’ that I purchased some time ago from my local Asian speciality store. On its own I don’t really use it for much, but adding a teaspoon of this to the pot lets me achieve the beautiful red colour of this garlic chilli oil. This is entirely optional. You can use dried chilli flakes instead – the resulting colour is more subtle but still pretty. Or you can just leave it out completely. The oil won’t take on much colour from the whole dried chillies but the flavour will still be there.
- 2 cups oil such as canola or vegetable oil
- 6-10 whole dried red chillies
- 3 cloves garlic
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 tsp dried chilli in oil or dried chilli flakes
- Peel the garlic cloves but leave them whole. Ensure the chillies, garlic and peppercorns are clean and completely dry before adding to the oil.
- Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan and heat gently over a low heat for 20-25 minutes. Do not allow the oil to get so hot that the garlic fries or takes on any colour. If this happens you will need to start again because the flavour will become quite bitter.
- After 25 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the oil to cool completely. Transfer to a clean sterile jar and store in the pantry to use whenever you feel like a flavour kick.