I have a bit of a condiment problem. You might even call me a condiment hoarder. They are such an easy way to add a jolt of flavor to just about anything. I’m particularly addicted to Chili Crisp- that gloriously garlicky, spicy, crispy umami bomb that I like to think of as an Asian answer to Everything Bagel seasoning. I drizzle it on everything from noodles to eggs. (I’ve seen it poured on ice cream, and yes I am a little tempted…)
While there’s been a producer in China making a chili crisp since the 90’s, it’s been slow to catch on in the states. But now that it has, I frequently see tiny jars of the stuff going for 10 dollars and up! It couldn’t be simpler to make your own though, and homemade Chili Crisp is a revelation; you will find yourself pouring it on everything. Lifehack- if you always wanted to be that person who gives homemade holiday gifts from your kitchen, but somehow never quite pull it off, Chili Crisp can help you make it happen this year.
What’s In Chili Crisp?
While coming up with my own version, I researched other recipes. I saw ones that called for far flung ingredients from every corner of the world; chili peppers from Thailand that you’re supposed to destem and grind yourself, expensive dried exotic mushroom powders, peppercorns that have to be specially ordered…I decided I wanted mine to be far more accessible. At its most basic, Chili Crisp is about garlic, chili flakes, and oil. I round those out with shallots-using already fried shallots is a huge time saver, a little toasted sesame oil for nuttiness, and dried shrimp. Dried shrimp are ready available at any Asian grocer and they add a nice blast of funky goodness. Feel free to leave them out though if you want a vegan chili crisp. A neutral oil is very important here; we don’t want a pronounced olive flavor competing with the true stars.
Making Chili Crisp
Making the Chili Crisp is pretty straightforward. A couple tips to ensure success- slice the garlic with a really sharp knife, and keep a very close eye on it while cooking. Garlic goes from the perfectly bronzed perfection we want, to terribly bitter and burnt in seconds.
Cook the garlic for another minute, and then remove from the heat. Keep stirring it until all of the slivers are golden brown, the garlic will still be cooking from the residual heat of the oil.
Now that the crisp part is done, it’s time for the chilis.
Let the chili flakes steep in the oil, off the heat for about a half hour- the longer the steep, the spicier the oil. Then strain the oil back into the garlic mixture. I add a generous two tablespoons of the chilis into the mixture, but your mileage may vary. If you want it more garlicky than spicy, use less. Of course if you it extra hot, stir in more.
Add in the sesame oil and salt, and stir everything together thoroughly.
This will keep for weeks in the fridge. The bonus is that it’s really like two recipes in one! Spoon out just the oil if you want a highly flavored cooking oil without the crunchies. Chile Crisp is absolutely amazing top of my Spicy Noodles, Ramen Eggs, or spooned on top of Miso Salmon. I can’t wait to see all they delectable uses you find for it. Let us know by leaving a comment below, and tagging us in your insta pics @funkyasiankitchen.
- 1 ½ cups neutral oil
- 1 cup crushed red chili flakes
- 16 cloves garlic
- 1 oz dried shrimp (about ⅓ cup)*
- ⅓ cup fried shallots
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Slice the garlic cloves paper thin. Set aside.
- Roughly chop the dried shrimp into bits and set aside.
- Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and gently swish the garlic around, using a heat resistant spatula.
- Cook for 2 minutes and then raise the heat to medium high. Cook for another minute until the garlic just starts to turn golden. Remove the pan from the heat source and add the shallots and the dried shrimp. Use the spatula to continue moving the mixture around with the spatula to get an even golden color (the residual heat in the pan will continue to cook fry the garlic).
- Put the red pepper flakes in a 10 inch skillet. Strain the garlic oil through a strainer over the red pepper flakes.
- Heat the chili oil over medium heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you start to see little bubbles or foam rise to the surface. It will also get a little difficult to breathe (chili fumes are strong) so make sure you have the exhaust fan on high!
- Turn off the heat. Let the chili oil sit for 30-45 minutes to steep and cool.
- Pour the chili oil back through the strainer into the pan with the garlic chips. Add about 2 tablespoons of chili flakes (you can add more if you like it with more punch) to the garlic oil. Discard the rest of the chili flakes.
- Add the sesame oil and salt. Stir to dissolve the salt. Store the cooled chili oil in a storage container in the fridge. The oil will be good for a couple of weeks.
*To make a vegan crisp, omit the dried shrimp
*Always use a clean utensil when scooping some of the oil.
Keywords: chili crisp, spicy, garlic, condiments