This ruby red chile- and spice-infused oil is a key ingredient in all kinds of Sichuan dishes. See Matt Gross's article See Matt Gross's article Flavors of Sichuan for information on hard-to-find ingredients. This recipe first appeared in our March 2013 issue along with Matt Gross's story Capital of Heat.
- 2 cups canola oil
- 4 star anise
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 cao guo (black cardamom pods)
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 stick cinnamon, broken in half
- 1 (3") piece ginger, smashed
- 1 cup (about 32) chiles de arbol, stemmed and chopped
- 3 tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
Heat oil, star anise, garlic, cardamom, cloves, bay, cinnamon, and ginger in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a 1-qt. glass jar with chiles, peppercorns, soy, and salt; let cool to room temperature. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard garlic and ginger; seal jar and let sit at least 24 hours. To use, strain oil, discarding solids. Store refrigerated up to 3 months.