Whenever I have a recipe that calls for Sichuan Chili Oil, I usually grab a bottle or premade stuff from an Asian market. That one is made with Sesame Oil and red chiles and it's kind of a one-note heat. For authentic Sichuan food, you need to make the Chili Oil yourself. There are many recipes, but the one my son made with me yesterday was so good, that I have to share it with you. We only made a small amount as we were experimenting and then we used the oil tonight to make a sauce for Spicy Sichuan Wontons. However, we also ended up sprinkling it on the fried rice - it was that good!
The recipe is simple. Heat up some neutral flavored oil and add garlic, green onions, ginger and Sichuan Peppercorns with a bunch of red chili flakes and when it the garlic is cooked, you add salt and let cool. Then you let it sit overnight so it turns a lovely clear red color, strain it and use as desired. That's all it takes to make a delicious Sichuan Chili Oil that can be used in many ways!
Stephen's Sichuan Chili Oil
1 cup Safflower Oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 green onions, trimmed and cut into 3 inch pieces
2" piece of ginger, peeled and smashed
1 Tablespoon Red Chile flakes
1 Tablespoon Sichuan Peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a small frying pan, heat the oil with the garlic, green onion, ginger, Chile flakes and Sichuan Peppercorns. Cook until the garlic is golden brown - about 15 minutes. Pour into a bowl. When cool, remove the garlic, ginger and green onion and then put into a jar. Seal and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Then strain and reseal to use for up to several months.
To make Sichuan Chili Oil Wonton Sauce:
1/4 cup Sichuan Chili Oil
1 Tablespoon Tamari
1 Tablespoon Black Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons Dried Marinated Mustard Greens reconstituted in small amount of boiling water
Heat the Sichuan Chili Oil in a small frying pan. Add the Tamari, Black Vinegar, sugar and drained Mustard Greens. Cook until heated thoroughly and pour over boiled wontons (we used Trader Joe's Chicken Wontons cooked for 2 minutes in boiling water).
Five Element Analysis
This is clearly a Fire food as evidenced by its' lovely red color and the heat of the chiles and Sichuan Peppercorns. However, the garlic and onion bring in the Metal Element and the Ginger contributes the Earth Element and the salt brings in a bit of the Water Element. Only the Wood Element is missing so this sauce is especially good when combined with Chinese Black Vinegar - a Wood food and Soy Sauce - a Water food and Dried Marinated Mustard Greens - a Fire food because it is dried and a Wood food because its a leafy green vegetable.