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abcdefg

Making your own chili sauce 自制红油

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somethingfunny

Great, so you're basically taking requests now?

 

Just to be clear, you used about a cup of oil, which is about 200ml?  If you wanted to make more, lets say a litre, would you increase all of the other ingredients in proportion?

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abcdefg
13 hours ago, somethingfunny said:

Great, so you're basically taking requests now?

 

Absolutely! Your wish is my command. (smile) Actually, I'd been wanting to make it at home for some time. Tried it a few days ago, but everything got too hot and the oil developed an unpleasant burned smell. Threw that batch away and started over. This time it was successful. Well-rounded taste. Hot but not brutal.

 

I used 240 ml of oil and 50 grams of hot peppers. The basic ratio by volume is two to one. When the peppers are ground, they are about a half a cup.

 

Some people use other oils, but most Chinese recipes caution against using peanut oil, because it tends to become too viscous and form a sludge when the finished product is cooled down to room temperature. And olive oil isn't tough enough, it degrades when heated to high temperatures. Also best to avoid cheap "blended oil" because it is too unpredictable.

 

I bought some high-quality rape seed oil  菜籽油。It's relatively inexpensive and works just right.

 

IMG_2358.thumb.JPG.653f74f51db6712daa3782e387c2b106.JPG

 

 

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somethingfunny
1 minute ago, abcdefg said:

everything got too hot and developed an unpleasant burned smell

 

That's what happened when I tried.  I'll have to give it another go soon.  

 

When I made it, I had the chilli peppers in with the oil when it was on the heat, but I think this way might be better - I'm not sure the chilli peppers can really handle the prolonged high temperatures.

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abcdefg
11 hours ago, somethingfunny said:

I'm not sure the chilli peppers can really handle the prolonged high temperatures.

 

Afraid they can't. They scorch pretty easy. They can develop an off taste well before they turn color and start looking black.

 

Chinese recipes that attempt to fine tune the oil temperature issue use a confusing scale of 七成热 for the first pour, 五成热 for the second and 三成热 for the remainder.

 

When I looked elsewhere for actual temperatures, I found a wide variation in guideline numbers, suggesting that perhaps this is one of those things that has evolved unscientifically and "by eye."

 

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889

But when you're dealing with that much chili, don't you risk chili-izing your utensils and the whole kitchen   -- maybe the whole flat if you're not careful -- for months? Can you wash that blender -- and the stuff you use to wash that blender -- so clean you can use it the next day to puree apples, say?

 

 

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imron
51 minutes ago, somethingfunny said:

When I made it, I had the chilli peppers in with the oil when it was on the heat

This is the number 1 mistake people make when trying to make this themselves.  Heating the oil separately and then combining with the chopped peppers is the way to do it.

 

5 minutes ago, 889 said:

so clean you can use it the next day to puree apples, say?

Of course!  Chilli apples would be delicious :mrgreen:

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Shelley
5 hours ago, 889 said:

don't you risk chili-izing your utensils and the whole kitchen

If you like chilli enough to make this, would you mind if everything was chillified?

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abcdefg

@889 --

Quote

"But when you're dealing with that much chili, don't you risk chili-izing your utensils and the whole kitchen   -- maybe the whole flat if you're not careful -- for months?"

 

A died in the wool chili head puts this in his morning coffee and on his breakfast cereal as well! "Where is my chili tooth paste, where is my chili after shave?" 

 

But seriously, the blender was not at all difficult to clean. The whole kitchen did have a very chili smell while manufacturing was in process, but the air in the rest of my apartment never ceased to be dominated by the hugely aromatic lilies 百合 in the living room!

 

IMG_20171013_091133.thumb.jpg.c635e4f3736163ee84e069b87db7c242.jpg

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realmayo
1 hour ago, abcdefg said:

百合 in the living room

another KM perk....

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realmayo
8 hours ago, abcdefg said:

It is said that pouring the oil in stages like this lets the hottest oil develops the fragrance of the ground chilies, while the second develops the red color of the chilies and the third increases their heat. The Chinese kitchen saying that deals with this is 一香二红三辣。

I didn't know about the three stages ... I'll try it next time. I usually just pour some hot oil onto a few teaspoons of chilli flakes to use later in the day. If I'm feeling extravagant I'll add some slices of ginger. I will try this version soon.

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abcdefg
6 hours ago, realmayo said:

I didn't know about the three stages ... I'll try it next time. I usually just pour some hot oil onto a few teaspoons of chilli flakes to use later in the day. If I'm feeling extravagant I'll add some slices of ginger. I will try this version soon.

 

@realmayo -- Some recipes call for just two pours instead of three. Also, some less orthdox recipes call for stirring the ground pepper into the hot oil, instead of the other way around as shown here in mine. It's possible that approach provides a greater margin for error.

 

Hope it works out well for you!

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Alex_Hart

Nice recipe, abc! I'm jealous of your blender (and maybe also your sunlight used to dry the chilis - haven't seen much of that since the autumn rains settled in!). I like your addition of an orange peel, wonder if you've tried using the peel of a 柚子. I saw a village full of drying 柚子 in 广西 and tried drying them recently, have yet to use them for anything but maybe I'll try in this recipe!

 

Do you have any particular dry chilis you reach for when making this? Or is it just 干辣椒? I wonder if it would be dry enough down in Kunming to dry your own chiles on a windowsill - I've seen it a lot in my travels, but mine got a little moldy when I tried it.

On 10/14/2017 at 3:39 AM, abcdefg said:

But seriously, the blender was not at all difficult to clean. The whole kitchen did have a very chili smell while manufacturing was in process, but the air in the rest of my apartment never ceased to be dominated by the hugely aromatic lilies 百合 in the living room!

 

I love 百合 - buy them once every two or three weeks to fill the house with their lovely aroma. They come in pink, white and yellow here. Price has recently gone up so I went for roses last time and was disappointed in how quickly they wilted compared to the 百合.

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abcdefg
20 hours ago, Alex_Hart said:

Do you have any particular dry chilis you reach for when making this? Or is it just 干辣椒?

 

That's a good question and I confess to oversimplifying the process of selection in the original article above. I went back to the chili guy in the market today in search of clarity. I always buy from the same vendor, and he's been helpful in the past. But he was taking his noon siesta/nap 睡个午觉 and his wife was on duty. She was willing to take my money in exchange for some goods, but wasn't quite as interested as her spouse in expending her energy on my continuing culinary education. She was brusque.

 

IMG_20171015_150344.thumb.jpg.9ecfa62d0a97081758ca5ece09b6469b.jpg

 

This is one of those stalls where they will roast and grind your peppers right on the spot while you wait, and in this first photo you can see part of the crude machine off to the far left partly hidden by the 老板娘。

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocking up here and saying, "I'd like some dry chili peppers please" is kind of like pulling into Starbucks and saying "One cup of coffee." It's impossible to escape further dialogue before your order can be filled. This unassuming open-front stall is an emporium of dry chili 干辣椒, much as Starbucks is a palace of coffee beans. 

 

These are the three main ones, their best sellers. She said they all were from Yunnan but had close relatives in Sichuan. She had them arranged from left to right in order of increasing spiciness. The Scoville lineup. The ones I, and most other local people, buy are the ones in the blue bag in the middle. She said these are best all around because they have medium heat and work well in stir-fried dishes.

 

 

IMG_20171015_150456.thumb.jpg.23adc2dbf93e97f23961d1b44f688e2f.jpg  IMG_20171015_150453.thumb.jpg.c111bdd90036ac0e0d812470030572e0.jpg    IMG_20171015_150459.thumb.jpg.4ac57601dc8a4e6896ba06ebb4c0b33f.jpg  

 

 

I bought a large handful of the blue bag ones in the center picture for 4 Yuan. I asked her the name twice and she said something that sounded like "chou bai lajiao" but I cannot read the hand-drawn sign and I was unable to Baidu any peppers of that name. She talked about the "sweetness" of the different peppers, not only their heat.

 

IMG_20171015_150614.thumb.jpg.a2736874c49ace81a2f13201dce1b097.jpg     IMG_20171015_150617.thumb.jpg.da352b735e6daa0bfbc9880d46ad0dfb.jpg

 

Their shop also offered several peppers ready-ground, and she explained something about them not having all been roasted the same way. It was easy to see that some were ground courser and some were ground more fine. I told her I sometimes make my own 红油 red chili oil at home, and she said they could help me out with some of their special grind next time.

 

Their crushing machine, which was not in action today, actually pounds the peppers in a large receptacle, kind of like an automated mortar and pestle. It doesn't have blades or cutting teeth. When it's working you can hear it a long way off.

 

They sold a few other dry spices, mainly things that frequently combine with red pepper. This and the stall down the same lane where they roast and pound sesame seeds into oil for you are two of my favorites. Small scale artisan enterprise is still to be found here. I realize that some day I will have to give all this up and return to the land of the big supermarkets. Cannot help but anticipate a rocky transition, sigh.

 

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Alex_Hart
5 hours ago, abcdefg said:

They sold a few other dry spices, mainly things that frequently combine with red pepper. This and the stall down the same lane where they roast and pound sesame seeds into oil for you are two of my favorites. Small scale artisan enterprise is still to be found here. I realize that some day I will have to give all this up and return to the land of the big supermarkets. Cannot help but anticipate a rocky transition, sigh.

 

Envy your markets! I hope you're not planning on leaving soon as we'll all miss your posts. 

 

I'd like to find a market with your amount of spices. Wonder what kind of special grind they use for 红油, more coarse or more fine?

 

I think even the big markets are more fun here than back home. I went to the local 世界联华 to buy some of their 酒酿饼 yesterday - haven't found these sort of round stuff-able bings elsewhere and I like to put a fried egg, some cucumber, pickles and maybe stir fried goodies inside them for breakfast on Sunday mornings. The market is huge (two or three stories) and impersonal so I avoid it otherwise, but it was fun seeing twenty people fighting over the 打折 rugs and scuffling over the tangerines (also 打折). I took an elbow in the gut from a grandma as high as my waist at some point. 

 

Do you find that Kunming is losing this sort of artisan craft? I keep trying to convince my girlfriend to move to Kunming, but continue to worry that it will all be gone in five years.

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abcdefg
On 10/15/2017 at 9:53 PM, Alex_Hart said:

Wonder what kind of special grind they use for 红油, more coarse or more fine?

 

Not sure. I'll ask next time. There are bound to be pros and cons of their different ready-ground offerings.

 

On 10/15/2017 at 9:53 PM, Alex_Hart said:

Do you find that Kunming is losing this sort of artisan craft? I keep trying to convince my girlfriend to move to Kunming, but continue to worry that it will all be gone in five years.

 

Hard to say. Some parts of Kunming are newer and more modern. I live in an older, less affluent section. But I will be long gone in five years, so I don't worry about such future issues.

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Alex_Hart

Made some chili oil last week! Definitely the tastiest one I've made so far. 

59fc047f1e15f_WeChatImage_20171103135229.thumb.jpg.f93c6dfa7bc0396a59712b9ff610a353.jpg59fc04a934b63_WeChatImage_20171103135225.thumb.jpg.dd3f8936bcc2f392bfa77f2340118c3f.jpg

 

I've had really bad luck with buying 辣椒粉 here so I bought an assortment of chilis and ground them at home with my new spice grinder

59fc04871b663_WeChatImage_20171103135254.thumb.jpg.57532674e3bf90592cdecc70f911ce70.jpg59fc048c8cca3_WeChatImage_20171103135242.thumb.jpg.fb0a5345ee518921363228aba434f99a.jpg

I also added fresh chilis and garlic

59fc049ce26b9_WeChatImage_20171103135236.thumb.jpg.d16350dcf3d32a42b55b6c664ff875dc.jpg59fc049416ff7_WeChatImage_20171103135239.thumb.jpg.f839e5168e3befe1c02494f57960e40c.jpg

which was stir fried before jarring (alongside some other spices not pictured here). The garlic really added a rich mellowness to the oil, and I'm really pleased with the flavors of the chilis - I bought several giant bags of them so I will have ready access to it in the future. This oil is spicy, but even my girlfriend (who is not a spice addict) keeps adding dollops to everything. 

59fc04a31e3a2_WeChatImage_20171103135234.thumb.jpg.c0ca516215513b38cec693c484649001.jpg

I also made some Hunan salted chilis 湖南辣椒酱 and pickled long beans and chilis last week. The pickles didn't come out very well - I added too much 花椒 as you can see in this picture. Instead of eating them on the side as they do in Sichuan, I'm washing them off and adding them to stir fries to add a salty brininess (and lots of 麻). Was my mistake, will be more careful next time.

59fc04adb7e29_WeChatImage_20171103135221.thumb.jpg.2d2f2820bf14d28ad1cc60683f48165e.jpg

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abcdefg

@Alex_Hart -- Did you make the chili sauce by just stir-frying everything together? I ask because this sounds simpler and more straight forward than traditional methods which always call for first infusing the oil with your garlic, ginger and so on, and then removing those spices before pouring the hot oil into a dish of ground chili peppers to cook them.

 

The inclusion of some fresh chilies probably gave it a nice, fresh taste. And using a mix of several kinds of dry chilies probably allowed you to adjust the heat.

 

Glad it worked out. Thanks for posting.

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Alex_Hart
On 11/4/2017 at 12:45 PM, abcdefg said:

@Alex_Hart -- Did you make the chili sauce by just stir-frying everything together? I ask because this sounds simpler and more straight forward than traditional methods which always call for first infusing the oil with your garlic, ginger and so on, and then removing those spices before pouring the hot oil into a dish of ground chili peppers to cook them.

 

I followed this general recipe (great site for recipes, by the way). I stir fried the garlic for about 30 minutes (ish), as in the recipe, but I added whole spices (typical five spices: star anise, Chinese cinnamon, fennel, clove but I added black cardamom/bay leaf and didn't add 花椒) and ginger which they do not. I was surprised they didn't and I should actually ask them why not... I fished the spices out, but did not take the garlic out.

 

Once the garlic turned golden (but not brown), I added in the salted fresh chilis (see their recipe, basically just mash fresh chilis with salt. Since I love and eat a lot of Hunan salted chilis, I figured why not) and sauteed another five minutes and then added the chili flakes directly, immediately taking it off heat. I liked this recipe for that last part. I've always done the "pour over" method in my previous chili oils but they always fell kind of flat - they lacked that mellow chili flavor that the best oils have in Sichuan and shined a little too much "hot." I don't mean that this oil isn't spicy - it's bloody spicy, but it also has that mellower taste in the background. I was also surprised with their addition of soy sauce, but I'm really happy with the results so I think I'd add it again next time. 

 

Yes, the mix of chilis I think was great. I'm not sure what the chilis are even called - I wanted to post pictures of my bags of chilis but my phone suddenly died yesterday and it has not deigned to revive itself no matter how long I charge it. I've been using them for the past week and they all add something nice to a dish - burn your mouth spicy, sweet spicy and a slightly smoky spice (though the chili is not smoked, it's just the natural flavor).

 

I'm really bummed about my cell phone dying as I made mapo doufu today, then added a big spoonful of this on top, and I was dancing while doing the dishes because it tasted so good. Definitely the best mapo tofu I've made. Wanted to post a picture but c'est la vie.

 

EDIT: Addiction changed to addition.

Edited by Alex_Hart
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abcdefg

OK, I understand. Thanks for the explanation.

 

This Chiu Chow hot sauce sounds like an excellent alternative to the standard Sichuan 红油 when one wants more garlic and a somewhat different flavor, rounded out with soy sauce and minus the tongue-numbing 花椒。Maybe I will try it next time. (I like that website too, and sometimes consult it when working up a new dish.)

 

Sorry about your phone. Time to look into a cheap, trusty Xiaomi.

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