Julia Moskin in the NY Times Cooking Section creates an easy to replicate Chinese Chili-Scallion Oil.
Chinese Chili-Scallion Oil
2/3 Cup of Hot Red Pepper Flakes
4 Garlic Cloves
2 Tablespoons Ginger
2 1/2 Cups of Oil
1/3 Cup of Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Sichuan Peppercorns
The recipe calls for corn or peanut oil but I only had vegetable oil and it turned out just fine. I took her suggestion and added in the Sichuan Peppercorns to add some of that mouth numbing heat.
Start by adding the oils to a think bottom pot or dutch oven. Be sure you have a frying thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil. The recipe suggests using pepper flakes but I only had whole chilies so I quickly toasted the chilies in a pan before adding to the food processor. The inconsistent size of the chilies gives the oil a more homemade feel. Cut the scallions into rings, finely chop the ginger and add both to the oil with the Sichuan Peppercorns. The recipe suggests crushing the garlic which I didn’t see until I had chopped it; if you chop your garlic too then keep the temperature on the lower end of suggested 225 – 250 range. I kept my oil at 220 for 15 min and then let it rest for 4 hours before bottling.
The finished product would make for a great gift for friends and family. If you want to keep it all to yourself then I suggest serving with roast chicken or steamed fish, stir fried with broccoli or snow peas, or tossed with tofu or noodles.