Fragrant Sichuan Red Chilli Oil (红油辣子)

Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 30 Mins

Sichuan red chilli oil or 红油辣子 (hong you la zi) is a type of chilli oil made specifically for use with certain Sichuan dishes such as Chongqing Xiaomian Noodle (重庆小面).

Typically, a combination of 2 or 3 chillies is used to achieve the best result. Chao Tian Jiao (朝天椒) or Small Chao Tian Jiao (小米椒) for spice; a flavourful chilli such as Er Jing Tiao (二荆条) for taste; miniature red bell peppers (灯笼椒) for colour.

You can use these in powdered or crushed form. If you only have them in dried whole form, then you will need to dry roast the chillies in a pan, then crush or grind them. I used crushed dried Chao Tian Jiao and powdered for the other two. Feel free to use what you can get though!

One special ingredient used in this chilli oil is 13 Spice or 十三香 (shi san xiang), which is kind of like the next level 5 Spice powder. It’s got an old Chinese fella with a fancy chef hat on the box, check out the instructions below for a photo. 13 Spice is used extensively in the making of dumplings in China. But if you can’t find it, just use 5 Spice!

The oil temperature is pretty important in this preparation. I don’t have fancy things like thermometers in my kitchen, so I go by feel and by watching the oil. Intuitive cooking is an Asian superpower! For those with cooking thermometers, I’ve listed approximate oil temperatures in the steps below.

Important, make sure you use a heat-proof bowl for preparation as the oil will be very hot! Also, after the Sichuan red chill oil is done, leave it alone! Let it steep and ooze yumminess in peace.

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0/11 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
  • Aromatics for Oil
  • Spice Mixture


0/7 Instructions
  • Slice the spring onion, ginger and red onion.
  • Heat the oil to medium heat (50% heat ≈ 80°C) and let the aromatics fry, keeping the heat even.
  • In the meantime, mix all the spice powders together in a heat-proof bowl. If you have 13 Spice powder add 0.5 tsp.
  • Fry the aromatics for about 20 minutes or until they go golden. Remove all the aromatics. If they burn, the oil will taste bad.
  • Turn the heat up until the oil is smoking (100% heat ≈160°C). Pour half the oil over the spice mix. Mix until even.
  • Leave the oil alone for 5-10 minutes, depending on your ambient temperature. When the oil is still hot but not burning (70% heat ≈110°C), pour the rest of the oil over the spice mix. Add a splash of black vinegar. Mix until even, then leave it alone for at least two hours.
  • Bottle when cool and keep at least overnight before using.



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