Crispy Chili Garlic Oil

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I am a big fan of spicy foods. I’m the type of person who orders my Thai food with five stars and still ends up adding more heat to it. Not that I want everything that spicy, but there are so many foods I like to be at least slightly spicy. My husband’s spice tolerance has improved tremendously since we’ve been together the past ten years, but I still need to keep our meals relatively mild for Phillie’s three year old palate.

This sauce is what I add to give my food the oomph I want without ruining it for everyone else. Chili flakes and thinly sliced garlic are simmered in avocado oil so that the flavor of the chili flakes is enhanced much more than it would be just sprinkling chili flake straight onto a dish. The chili flakes get a bit crispy. The garlic will be somewhat crunchy, somewhat chewy depending on how thinly you slice it. Either way not only does this sauce add tons of flavor, it adds wonderful texture too.

I put this on anything I want to be spicier. It’s great on ramen, lentil soup, drizzled on chicken, noodles, fried rice, on avocado, and eggs, for a few examples.

Sauces similar to this are found in many cuisines from Sichuan numbing oil to Salsa Macha in Mexico. I started making this after trying Alison Roman’s recipe for Crunchy Chili Oil in Dining In. This version is much more basic as it is only chili flake, garlic, and oil.

Sometimes I make this extra spicy and add more chili flakes. If you choose to do that it will come out thicker. You can also play with the type of chili flakes you like to use, or adjust the ratio to make it spicier or more mild. Aleppo pepper is a mild, but fragrant chili flake. I’ve used generic crushed red pepper before and even Scotch Bonnet flakes before to make it spicier. Sometimes it gets solid in the fridge, but just dish some out a little before you use it, and it will soften right up. I don’t put salt in this because I’m generally already seasoning my food to taste, but it would not hurt to add a little. This must be refrigerated, and it will keep for a month.

Crispy Chili Garlic Oil (makes one pint)

  • 1 head of garlic, 10-15 cloves, thinly sliced
  • 12 oz avocado oil (or other neutral oil such as vegetable or canola)
  • 3/4 cup Aleppo Pepper
  • 1/4 cup hot chili flake (I use Thai chili flakes)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a bubble over medium high heat. Then turn down the heat to medium low so that the sauce does not sputter. Simmer for about 25 minutes until the garlic is lightly or medium browned, and the bubbling almost stops.
  2. Allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator.

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