Gardeners' World: Monty Don shares tips on planting chilli seeds
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Chilli oil is an absolute staple for most people who love Chinese food, and for good reason. Spicy sauces like chilli oil are great on top of fried rice, noodles and ramen – among millions of other dishes – making it an absolute must for Asian food lovers. But there’s two different kinds of chilli oil, one with whole red chillies inside infusing the oil and a dark red, fragrant chilli oil that uses the hottest part of the pepper, the seeds.
Chilli oil recipe
For this recipe from Red House Spice, it will take you five minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook, bringing the total to 15 minutes.
You’ll be able to make 32 servings from this chilli oil, making it ideal for the condiment cupboard.
If you don’t love your chilli oil too spicy, take your time to choose the right kind of flakes by checking the heat level.
Start from medium, however, as mild flakes tend to have no spice at all so it will render the chilli oil pointless.
For the chilli, you will need:
Half-a-cup of chilli flakes
One tablespoon of chilli powder
Half a teaspoon of salt
Two tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds
For the oil, you will need:
Half a cup of cooking oil
One teaspoon of Szechuan peppercorns
One star anise
One piece of Chinese cinnamon/cassia cinnamon
One teaspoon of fennel seeds
One bay leaf
One Chinese black cardamom (optional)
Three slices of ginger
Two stalks of spring onion
In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the chilli.
Have another empty bowl ready to go, making sure it’s deep, heatproof and completely dry before placing a sieve over it.
Pour oil into a cold wok/pot, and all the ingredients for the oil, and cook over a low heat.
Watch the oil carefully and turn off the heat immediately when the spring onion turns brown.
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At this moment, you should also see smoke telling you to turn the heat off.
Pour the oil into the empty bowl through the sieve and get rid of everything caught.
Add half of the chilli mixture into the oil, at which point you should see it bubbling up a lot.
Add the remaining half when the bubbles have calmed down and stir well with a clean, dry wooden spoon.
Leave the mixture to cool uncovered and wait at least 12 hours before using, as this will give the flavours a chance to infuse.
Then, transfer to a container of your choice, depending on how long you’re planning on using it for.
In an airtight container, chilli oil is good for about one month in the cupboard and up to six months in the fridge.
After a while, most of the cooked chilli flakes and sesame seeds tend to stay at the bottom of the container, so use a clean spoon to stir well before serving.
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