Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chili oil

Chili oil is a condiment made from vegetable oil that has been infused with dried chili peppers and sometimes also additional ingredients. It is used as an ingredient used in Chinese cuisine as well as in some other cuisines of East and Southeast Asia. Particularly popular in Sichuan cuisine, it is used as an ingredient in cooked dishes as well as as a condiment. It is sometimes used as a dipping sauce for meat and dim sum. It is also employed in the noodle soup dish ''jjamppong''.

Chili oil is typically red in color. It is made from vegetable oil, often soybean oil or sesame oil, although olive oil or other oils may be used. Other spices may be included such as Sichuan pepper, garlic, or paprika. The spices are soaked in oil. Commercial preparations may include other kinds of oil, water, dried garlic, soy sauce, and sugar. Recipes targeted to Western cooks also suggest other popular oils such as canola, peanut, grapeseed, olive, and any dried or fresh chili peppers. The solids typically settle to the bottom of the container in which it is stored. When using chili oil, the chef or diner may choose how much of the solids to use; sometimes only the oil is used, without any solids.

Chili oil is commercially available in glass jars, although it may also be made from scratch at home. It is usually available by request at Chinese restaurants.

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