“We’ve run out of chilli oil!” wailed the Chief Taster, announcing the beginning of our latest culinary crisis.
Chilli oil is an absolute essential in the Saucy Dressings household. It’s primary use is to pep up slightly bland soup. But basically it can pep up absolutely anything. If you’ve been a bit too cautious with the chilli in dishes such as chilli con carne you retrospectively save the situation with a judicious slosh, or if you are cooking for a variety of tastes you can hand those salivating for heat the bottle and let them drizzle over whatever amount they wish.
It is dead simple to make. The only excuse, really, for running out is that you have to allow a couple of month infusion time, which means being able to think ahead and be organized.
I used to use whole chillies to make this. I have never had a problem, but I think the dried, crushed chillies are less likely to result in the bacteria which causes Botulism, so I use those now. I add the paprika because it gives an intriguing, smoky flavour.
Here’s what to do.
- 480ml/2 cups olive oil
- 12g/2 tbsps dried crushed chilli
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 Indonesian long black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and warm gently. Leave to cool for an hour.
- Take out the bay leaf.
- Cover, and leave in a sterilized jar in a cool, dark place.
- Leave for two months, joggling every now and then.
- Filter, and use.
For a post on various methods of conveniently sterilising glass jars, follow this link.