Homemade Szechuan Chilli Oil
1 cup spicy oil
While you can buy chili oil in most Asian supermarkets, it's so easy to make yourself, and far yummier. It goes on everything, as an ingredient and a condiment.
60gm dried birds eye chillies or Asian chilli powder
1 cup canola oil
4 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaf
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 thumb slice piece ginger, roughly chopped
8 cardamon pods
3 Tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
3-4 tsp salt
Place a frypan over medium heat and add the chillies. Toast and toss gently for 5-6 minutes to become more fragrant.
Move to a food processor and pulse until it becomes desired consistency - I like a few chunks rather than a powder, so you can see the seeds. Set aside.
Place the oil in a saucepan over low heat.
In a separate small frying pan, toast the star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, Szechuan peppercorns, garlic, ginger and cardamom pods over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke.
Add the spices to the warm oil. Turn the heat under the oil up to medium and wait for the spices to gently sizzle. Cook at a gentle sizzle for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes (do not move to next step until it has cooled quite a bit as it will burn the chilli).
Place the chilli powder and salt in a heat-proof jar or bowl. Pour the oil over the chilli salt mixture (you can strain the spices but, I like to keep them in).
Allow to cool before storing in an airtight jar. Use within a year.