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Have you ever had a meal with a sauce or condiment so delicious, it totally stole the show? Think, a perfect “Sunday gravy” you want to drink by the spoonful, or a sticky-tangy-sweet barbecue sauce that you’d eat on almost anything. Well, condiment lovers, have we got a recipe for you. Loaded with aromatics and a mellow but enjoyable punch of heat, this homemade chili oil recipe from Tournament of Champions and Top Chef star Mei Lin, shared on Instagram by Shota Nakajima (another Top Chef and TOC contestant), is about to become your go-to condiment for everything from simple bowls of rice to take-out pizza.
A post shared by Shota Nakajima (@chefshota)
Chili oil is a fun condiment to make at home because it’s easy to customize it both by adding your favorite ingredients, and by adjusting the ratio of ingredients used. Want a fiery, spicy chili oil? You can use serrano chiles, chiles de árbol, or Thai chiles to amp up the heat. Want something more mild? De-seed and remove the membrane from the jalapeño called for in Mei Lin’s recipe, or swap it out entirely for something like a poblano pepper, which will still add that grassy, vegetal pepper flavor, without the heat.
Lee Kum Kee.
To make her chili oil, Lin adds a mix of finely chopped aromatics, like ginger, green onion, and garlic, to a heat-proof bowl, along with dry spices like chili flakes, sesame seeds, msg, sugar, and salt. Then, she pours boiling hot oil over the mixture, stirring it around. The hot oil starts to cook the aromatics, which then infuse the oil with their flavor.
This isn’t to be confused with chili crisp, another condiment we’ve all come to love. In this chili oil, the solids are soft and full of flavor, just waiting to be spooned over your favorite foods. Toss some with a big bowl of noodles for a quick lunch, drizzle over steamed, poached, or grilled meats, stir into mayo for an amazing burger condiment — the options are pretty endless.
Fly By Jing.
All we know is that once you make Mei Lin’s homemade chili oil recipe for yourself, it will be hard to go back to what you can get at the store.
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Watch: How to Make Watermelon Mango Salsa
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