13 Pantry Essentials for Sichuan Cooking, According to Fly Written by Jingjing Gao Founder
If you want the heat and flavor of chili peppers in your food but don’t want to pick up chunky pepper pieces, chili oil is the perfect solution. To prepare it, Jing Gao likes to use about a 4-to-1 ratio of oil to dried chili peppers. Heat the oil and pour it over the chili peppers, then set the mixture aside to give the oil time to extract the flavour. Then, after straining, your chili oil should be red, hot, and ready to use in your favorite recipes.
Sometimes, chili oil is made from just peppers and oil, but chefs often add spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, or star anise to increase the aroma and depth of flavor. As for how to use it, the options are almost limitless. Per Jing Gao, “You can make cold appetizers like cucumber salad, you can stir-fry it, use it in mapo tofu, or make a noodle dish where you mix it with soy sauce, black vinegar, and garlic.”
The same heating and soaking method can also be applied to Sichuan peppercorns to make Sichuan peppercorn oil. The narcotic properties of the peppercorns will be transferred to the oil, which can be sprinkled on many foods.