Saturday, March 24, 2012

Paleo Chiu Chow Chilli Oil

Chiu Chow Chilli Oil is one of my favourite types of chilli to eat with blanched Chinese vegetables. For a long time I used Lee Kum Kee's chilli oil because it was the only brand of chilli oil sold in the supermarkets. What bugged me about it though was that the oil used by Lee Kum Kee was soybean oil, and that the chilli oil contained sugar and flavour enhancers.

Today, the bugging feeling reached its limits and I decided to try making my own healthy chilli oil using the birdseye chillis on our chilli plant.


Red chillies if you have time to dry them out (I used 25 bird's eye chillies); or if you do not then chilli flakes
1 tsp garlic powder / grandules
3 tsp salt
1 tbsp seasme oil
9 tbsp coconut oil

Note: Homemade oil infusions carry the risk of botulism. You should ensure that all your ingredients, cooking utensils and the glass jar you use to store the chilli oil in are completely dry.


1. If you are drying chillies, use a knife to slit the chillies lengthwise, then pull the flesh apart. The reason is that the core of the chilli contains moisture and needs to be exposed to hot air to dry out. Once dried, the chilli will be very crisp. You can either use a pair of scissors to snip it to smaller bits, or break them with a pestle and mortar.

2. Pour the chilli flakes into the glass jar, and add the garlic powder and salt.

3. Heat up the sesame oil and coconut oil in a pan or microwave. The oil needs to be warm enough for the salt to dissolve and for the heat of the chilli to be infused into it.

Taste test results

Even though my Jarrow Extra Virgin Coconut Oil retains some of its coconutty aroma, the sesame oil masked it quite well. The oil absorbed the spiciness from the chilli, and the whole mixture was way more spicy than Lee Kum Kee's chilli oil. 

If you are the kind of person that is satisfied having a slice of chilli on a spoonful of food, then birdseye chillies will be suitable for the chilli oil. But if you are the kind of person that likes to mix or slather your food with chilli, then larger chillis with or without a few birdseye chilli bits may be more suitable for your chilli oil.

Once this jar runs out, I will definitely be making more chilli oil (but with larger chillis in the mix)!

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