Blog posts

Homemade Chili Oil & Just Some Of Its Uses

Homemade Chili Oil & Just Some Of Its Uses


Those of you who have been around here once or twice before may know of my affinity for homemade condiments.  Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, chutney, barbecue sauce — you name it — it’s all much better out of your mixing bowl than an easy-squeeze bottle.

The ingredients are real, the colours true, the cost often less and the taste always kicks ass over anything Hellman’s, Heinz, French’s, Patak’s or Kraft can put out.

They may have salt and high-fructose corn syrup on their side, but we’ve got love, people, we’ve got love.  And if I remember correctly, LOVE CONQUERS ALL.

I certainly hope it does, anyway.  Cause after an intro like that, I’m not expecting any corporate sponsors to come knocking on my Contact Me page anytime soon.


Speaking about love, let’s talk about chilis.  Or is it chillis?  I love them, however they’re spelled.

I’m not over-the-top about heat — I don’t drown every other flavour on my plate with the most testosterone Scoville-laden hot-pepper sauce I can get my hands on — but I do like a pinch of cayenne in my hot chocolate, an extra jalapeno on my nachos and a drizzle of chili oil stirred into my Cauliflower Cheese Soup.

I use chili oil to add a finishing kick in stir fries and a few drops in an Asian-flavoured salad dressing add another layer of flavour (without a lot of heat).

(Click on the title below for a printable version of this recipe.)

: Homemade Chili Oil

: A spicy oil with a beautiful red hue that adds flavour and colour everywhere you drizzle it.

  • Vegetable Oil (peanut, safflower or sunflower) – 1 Cup (240 ml)
  • Sesame Oil – 1-2 Tble (15-30 ml)
  • Dried Red Chili Flakes – ⅓ Cup (80 ml)
  1. Heat the oils in a saucepan over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 225-250° F (about 5 minutes). Stir in the chili flakes, remove from the heat and set aside for 2-8 hours.
  2. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Keeps for several weeks.


  • I prefer sunflower or safflower oils over vegetable oils from canola, corn, or soybean.  Most of the latter set (unless labelled organic, non-gmo) are made with Genetically Modified crops.

Copyright © 2009-2011 Island Vittles/Theresa Carle-Sanders. All rights reserved. Don’t Steal — Karma’s Real.

This salad of julienned (and lightly steamed) carrot, celery and green bean on a bed of red onion and radicchio was lightly dressed with a magical mixture that I use  in Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Korean and Vietnamese-inspired dishes. (Hence its name.)

: Pan-Asian Salad Dressing

: A light, versatile dressing. Toss it with a simple salad of fresh greens, use it to dress a steamed root vegetable slaw, or marinate some chicken for a stir-fry or a rib-eye for the grill.

  • Vegetable Oil – ¼ Cup (60 ml)
  • Rice Vinegar – 1 Tble (15 ml)
  • Chili Oil – 2 tsp (10 ml)
  • Soya Sauce – 1 tsp (5 ml)
  • Fresh Galangal, grated – 1 tsp (5 ml) OR Fresh Ginger, grated – ½ tsp (3 ml)
  • Garlic, minced – ½ tsp (3 ml)
  • Sugar – ½ tsp (3 ml)
  • s+p – to taste
  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Store, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days.


  • Galangal is similar in appearance to ginger, but has a different, milder taste.  It’s found in Asian markets, sometimes in the frozen food case.  It stores well in the freezer — grate it on a microplane, peel and all, straight from the freezer.
  • For marinades, I double the recipe and add a tablepoon of fish sauce or a teaspoon of Worcestershire (and maybe a few chili flakes too…)

Copyright © 2009-2011 Island Vittles/Theresa Carle-Sanders. All rights reserved. Don’t Steal — Karma’s Real.


These beauties are Sichuan Red Oil Wontons from  I’ve had some bad experiences with boiled wontons, so I deep-fried a few just in case.  And although I would never turn down a deep-fried anything, I am happy to report that there was no need to go to the trouble of making Wontons Two Ways — the boiled ones make an tastelicious and quick dinner with a small salad (see above) and some steamed rice.

I didn’t have all of the specific ingredients as listed.  I used Vermouth instead of Chaoxing wine, black pepper in place of Sichuan and brown rice vinegar in place of that fancy-sounding Chinkiang black rice vinegar.  A full pantry (and liquor cabinet) makes for easy substitutions…oh yeah, and I cooked the wontons in stock instead of water — a little extra flavour never hurt any dish.