Submitted by: Geoff M. from Chicago, IL
Yield: 2 cups
Slice the whole garlic bulb transversely, to expose the fresh cloves. Peel the ginger root and slice it into ¼-inch coins.
Add oil, garlic, ginger, and all *spices* except for chile peppers to a saucepan. Heat oil until ingredients begin to bubble and simmer. Lower heat and let all spices simmer for 15 minutes to infuse the oil.
*Optional: For most flavorful results, gently crush the spices in a mortar and pestle before adding to the oil. Avoid grinding them into dust, you simply want to crack them open to release more aromatic compounds. For the cinnamon, you can simply snap the sticks into smaller pieces by hand.
While oil and spices are cooking, cut up the Tien Tsin chiles with a pair of kitchen scissors or gently pulse them in a food processor to match the coarseness of the crushed red chiles.
Place chile flakes in a heat-safe container. A metal mixing bowl or pyrex measuring cup is perfect for this. Remember, the chiles will bubble up, so leave room for that. Optional: Add an extra teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns to the bowl of chiles, gently crushing them first to release aromatic oils.
Using a fine mesh wire strainer, strain the spices out of the hot oil while pouring the oil over the chiles. Let chili oil cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
More About This Recipe
This chili oil can be used as a condiment for your favorite foods. It also makes a great meat marinade for beef, chicken and pork when mixed with freshly minced garlic, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Try that same marinade mixture with a bit of oyster sauce for an excellent addition to your next vegetable stir fry.