top of page

How To Make Chili Oil

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

I am gonna be 100% honest with you lovely people, before I discovered Lao Gan Ma about 4 years, I had never tasted any chili oil in my life. Yes, never! You must be judging me right now as you may know that I am Chinese. Not 100%, but my last name says all.

I oughta be ashamed of myself, you might think. But hear me out, I grew up with little exposure to Chinese cuisine. All I know are my grandma's and mom's Indo-concoction food. I also grew up with American-Chinese cuisine too. I know that shouldn't be an excuse for me not to know much about Chinese cuisine.

Well, anyway, here's my version of chili oil. I am keeping things very simple for this recipe; I am using what I can get my hands on without over-complicating. You can use whichever dried chilies you desired, I am using Kashmiri. You can try some Sichuan red chilies or even a combination of Mexican chilies. Be sure to adjust to the level of spiciness of your palate. It has to be 30g.

As for the "zhacai" (aka Chinese pickled mustard), you can use pickled relish, pickled daikon or even sauerkraut. That extra zing and crunch will boost the flavors and texture. If you are intrigued, you can also add some peanuts too. I added some smoked paprika and liquid smoke for that smokey kick. In closing, I hope you will give my version of chili oil a try.



(Make about 500ml)

  • Peanut / Grapeseed / Sunflower / Canola Oil, 225g

  • Star Anise, 2

  • Black Cardamom, 1

  • Cloves, 1 TBSP

  • Cinnamon Stick Preferably Hexa, 1

  • Miso, 30g

  • Chinese Rice Wine, 30g

  • Dried Chilies, 30g

  • Smoked Paprika, 2 TBSP

  • Demerara Sugar, 1 TBSP

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Shallots Finely Sliced, 5

  • Ginger Finely Minced, 1"

  • Garlic Finely Minced, 3 Cloves

  • ZhaCai (Chinese Pickled Mustard) Finely Chopped, 40g

  • Sichuan Peppercorns, 2 TSP

  • Sesame Seeds, 2 TSP

  • Liquid Smoke Preferably Stubb's, 2 TBSP



  • Cast Iron Skillet / Pan

  • Spice Grinder



  1. Add oil into a skillet and turn the heat up to medium-low.

  2. When you insert a wooden chopstick, it shouldn't be bubbling rapidly.

  3. Add in star anise, black cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick.

  4. *Be careful as it might splatter.*

  5. Allow the spices to sizzle for about 3 mins, turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for another 30 mins.

  6. In the meantime, toast dried chilies in another skillet until aromatic and lightly charred.

  7. Transfer into a spice grinder. Give it a few pulses.

  8. *Do not take it too far as we want it to be coarse ground and not powdery.*

  9. Transfer into a large bowl.

  10. Add in paprika, sugar and salt.

  11. Mix to combine well and set aside.

  12. After 30 mins, fish the spices out of the oil.

  13. Turn the heat up to medium-low.

  14. When you insert a wooden chopstick, it shouldn't be bubbling rapidly.

  15. Add in shallots, ginger and garlic. Saute until aromatic.

  16. Saute in the zhacai.

  17. Add in the miso mixture while stirring slowly to combine well or it might split.

  18. Stir in the peppercorns and sesame seeds.

  19. *Be careful as it might splatter.*

  20. Once everything is incorporated, bring it up to a slow sizzle.

  21. Allow the mixture to sizzle for about 3 mins.

  22. Remove from heat and immediately pour the oil mixture into the chili mixture.

  23. Mix until well combined.

  24. Lastly, add in the liquid smoke.

  25. Stir to combine well.

  26. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt or sugar.

  27. You can transfer it into a small bowl or a sterilized jar.

  28. It can be kept chilled in the fridge for about 14 days.

Not too numbingly spicy. Full of flavors...


Recipe Video:

35 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page