Red Chile Oil
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Many Chinese cooks use this robustly flavored oil in many of their dishes.

Yield: makes 3/4 Cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut oil
  • <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> cup chopped dried red chiles

Instructions

  • Heat peanut oil in a wok or medium saucepan over high heat until hot but not smoking (340°-350° on a candy thermometer). Add dried chiles, then remove wok from heat and set aside to cool. Strain oil through a fine sieve. Refrigerate in a sealed jar for up to 6 months.

Variation: For Sichuan peppercorn oil (hua jiao you), substitute 1/4 cup Sichuan peppercorns for the red chiles and proceed as above. Chiang recommends sprinkling this oil on already cooked foods. Don't use it to stir-fry. The heat will destroy the flavor and make it bitter. It's best on spicy dishes, for it brings out their flavor.