Ignite your taste buds with the sizzling sensation of chilli oil! This fiery condiment is a magical blend of oil, red chilli peppers, and often other flavour-enhancing ingredients. But it’s not just about spicing up your dishes; it's your secret weapon to flavour euphoria.
Like most delicious products that capture our imagination, it inspires people to create new and unique flavours - and the chilli oil is no exception.
In this article, we'll explore what chilli oil is, its benefits, uses, and even provide some simple recipes to make the most out of yours. So, let's dive into the spicy world of chilli oil!
What is Chilli Oil?
Chilli oil is known for its spicy and aromatic characteristics, adding heat and depth to a variety of dishes. It is a fairly common condiment in Asian cuisines, especially in Chinese, Korean, and Southeast Asian dishes, where it is used to enhance the flavour of rice, noodles, stir-fries, dumplings, and other savoury dishes. Some also use it as a dip or marinade.
It is valued not only for its heat but also for the complex flavors contributed by the infused ingredients, making it a popular and versatile condiment in many culinary traditions. This can be seen with it’s lesser known, but popular use in all manner of egg preparations, as a pizza drizzle, a flavour enhancer in pastas, a quick touch up to coconut-based curries and the list goes on!
Chilli oil is a must-have for those who love their food with a depth of flavour, and it can make regular meals more exciting. It’s one of those things, where once you taste it, there’s no going back to a world without it!
Why do people love Chilli Oil?
Flavour Enhancement: Chilli oil elevates the taste of dishes by adding a spicy kick and a burst of rich chilli flavour.
Versatile Condiment: It's a versatile kitchen staple that can be drizzled on various foods, from noodles to dumplings, making them not only spicy but more exciting.
Spice Enthusiast's Choice: Chilli oil is a go-to for those who enjoy spicy food, offering a simple way to spice up everyday meals with a little twist of flavour.
Health Benefits: The capsaicin in chilli peppers, a component of chilli oil, may have health benefits like boosting metabolism and reducing inflammation.
Potential Health Benefits of Chilli Oil
(thanks to the goodness of chillies!)
It has improved heart health: Chilli oil contains capsaicin, a compound that has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation. This can help protect against heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.
Weight loss: Chilli oil can boost metabolism and help burn calories. This can be helpful for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Pain relief: Capsaicin is also a topical pain reliever. It can be used to relieve pain from arthritis, muscle cramps, and other conditions.
Boosted immunity: Chilli oil contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps boost the immune system. This can help protect against infections.
Improved digestion: Chilli oil can help stimulate the digestive system and improve digestion. This can help prevent constipation and other digestive problems.
- Reduced risk of cancer: Some studies have shown that capsaicin may have cancer-fighting properties. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Chilli Oil Uses
Drizzling on Pizza: A spoonful of chilli oil can add a spicy kick to your pizza. It pairs well with both classic and unconventional toppings.
Stir-Frying: Use chilli oil as a cooking oil in stir-fry recipes. It adds a spicy heat to your stir-fried dishes and works especially well with vegetables and meats.
Dipping Sauce: Mix chilli oil with soy sauce, vinegar, and other seasonings to create a flavorful and spicy dipping sauce for dumplings, spring rolls, and other appetisers.
Noodles and Pasta: Toss cooked noodles or pasta with chilli oil for a quick and easy spicy pasta dish. It's a popular addition to dishes.
Marinades: Add chilli oil to marinades for meats and vegetables. It not only infuses them with spicyness but also imparts a wonderful flavour.
Pizza and Sandwiches: Drizzle chilli oil on sandwiches, burgers, or pizza for an extra layer of flavour.
- Sushi: A small amount of chilli oil can enhance the flavour of sushi rolls, especially when used sparingly as a dipping sauce or drizzled on top.
Recipe: Spicy Noodles with Chilli Oil
- 4 oz thick wheat noodles Taiwanese sliced noodles, udon, or ramen noodles
- 3 tbsp neutral oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Sichuan chilli flakes or Korean or regular chilli flakes to taste
- 1 green onion chopped, divided
- 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp Chinese black vinegar or rice vinegar, to taste
- 1/4 tsp each sugar, salt or chicken bouillon powder (see notes below)
- cilantro, green onion, and/or toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional
- Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain and place in a bowl. To serve the noodles cold, rinse under cold water for a few seconds then drain.
- Add garlic, chilli flakes, white parts of green onion, light & dark soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, salt, and sugar over the noodles.
- Heat oil in a saucepan until sizzling hot. Pour the hot oil over the chilli flakes and garlic, and mix until the noodles are evenly coated. Garnish, add more soy sauce if needed, and enjoy!
Is chilli oil healthy?
Chilli oil can be healthy in moderation as it contains capsaicin, which may boost metabolism and have some health benefits. However, it's high in calories and should be consumed sparingly.
How do you store chillies in oil?
To store chillies in oil, ensure the chillies are completely dried and submerged in oil in an airtight container. Keep it in the refrigerator for freshness and safety.
How long does chilli oil last?
Chilli oil can last for several months if stored properly in the refrigerator. However, its shelf life may vary based on ingredients and storage conditions, so check for signs of spoilage. Remember to always use fresh, clean spoons every time you dip into your jar - its the combination of other foods and contact with air that can bring bacteria.