CHILI OIL WITH SICHUAN PEPPERCORNS
The f are sichuan peppercorns? Well I'm glad you asked.
They are peppers exclusively grown in the Sichuan province of China, and they gained their fame through their trademark heat and tongue-tingling feel. These days they are sold almost everywhere in grocery stores in the city, and you can even buy them online.
There are about a million different recipes for chili oil out there, and this one uses the sichuan peppers as an ingredient. This chili oil uses ginger and a lot of shallots for depth in flavor, and the key to finding the perfect chili oil recipe for you is to - ADJUST THE INGREDIENTS according to your tastes. So if you like it to be head-blowing hot, add an extra tablespoon of chili flakes and sichuan peppers, or two. You like ginger? Add an extra thumb-sized root in there!
This recipe serves as the base of the chili oil of your dreams, for your toasts, congee, soups and even eggs.
What You Need:
2 tablespoons Shizuan peppercorns, roughly grinded with a pestle and mortar
10 shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
1 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
1 tbsp chili flakes
1 cup neutral oil (I use regular vegetable oil)
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 cinnamon stick
What You Do:
1. In a large wok, or pot, heat your neutral oil with the cinnamon stick and cloves. Ensure that the fire is low and slow, always.
2. As the oil heats up, add your sliced shallots and ginger. Cook slowly, until the shallots have become softened and translucent.
3. Add the sliced garlic, chili flakes and shizuan peppercorns. Continue cooking for about 5 more minutes.
NOTICE: If at any point it looks like things are burning (because some woks are jerks), just turn the heat off and allow the wok's temperature to cool down.
4. Turn off the heat, and add the sesame oil and soy sauce. Remove the wok from the stove, and just let it sit there for an hour or so, or until it has cooled down. Do NOT attempt to meddle with it while the oil is extremely hot!
5. Taste, and see if you need any salt or perhaps an additional dash of soy. If it's already perfect, transfer your chili oil into a jar and keep refrigerated for future use. Remove the cinnamon stick. Chili oil always taste better the next day, as you would give it more time to infuse.