If you’ve ever tried chilli crisp before, we’re sure you’d agree that it’s possibly the most versatile condiment to have on hand. A spicy yet savoury chilli oil, it’s set apart by crispy bits of caramelised onion and garlic amongst other spices , seasonings and aromatics. You can spoon it over anything and everything from fried rice and noodles to soups and salads, or even use it to cook your eggs for an elevated breakfast. Here we’re showing you just how easy it is to make your own chilli crisp at home, with this startlingly-simple recipe making use of store-cupboard staples.
Where Does Chilli Crisp Come From?
Chilli Crisp has Chinese roots, with the most well-known chilli crisp first bottled by Lan Gao Ma in 1997 using a recipe by Tao Huabi, the chef at the helm of a woman-owned noodle shop in the Guizhou province of China. This traditional version featured soybean oil, chile, onion, peanuts, soybeans, prickly ash powder, MSG, salt, and sugar.
At its core, chilli crisp is a savoury chilli oil condiment which masterfully marries flavours and textures, with a high ratio of crunchy crispy elements to chilli oil. It’s an endlessly adaptable recipe for which one essentially needs :
- Crispy bits
You can really let your imagination run far when picking ingredients across these key categories! Some recipes use preserved black beans and nuts for the crisp, Sichuan peppercorns for spice and so on. In this case, we have kept the recipe fairly simple to stir together a quick and deliciously-simple chilli crisp that can be paired with almost any savoury dish on your table!
Ingredients For Making This Chilli Crisp Recipe
To make this chilli crisp you will need:
- Onion – this is one of our two crispy bits in the chilli crisp. We cook down the onion until caramelised to a crisp perfection before adding it to our chilli oil base to transform it into a chilli crisp.
- Garlic – this is the second crispy element in our chilli crisp. Thinly sliced cloves of garlic are cooked with the onions until golden.
- Neutral flavoured oil – any cooking oil can be used for this recipe, but preferably you’d like to use a “neutral-flavoured oil” which does not impart any lingering flavour that would overwhelm the flavours of chilli oil. Suggested oils include
- vegetable or rice bran oil
- peanut oil
- avocado oil
- Aromatics – cinnamon and star anise are simmered with the onion and garlic to infuse the oil with their heady fragrance and subtle – albeit numbing – flavours.
- Chilli flakes – you can use a combination of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) and regular chilli flakes. This is the main spicy seasoning in our chilli crisp.
- Toasted sesame seeds – sesame seeds add a nutty undertone to our final crisp.
- Soy sauce – we add just a splash to add a kick of umami flavour.
- Brown sugar – just a pinch is perfect for a subtle sweetness.
How To Use This Homemade Chilli Crisp
You can use this chilli crisp to cook your eggs – the result is nothing short of revelatory, imparting shades of heat to elevate your next breakfast.
You can also use this chilli crisp to add a fiery flair over your final bowl of noodles , fried rice or even Asian-inspired salads. Some of our favourite dishes to pair with this chilli crisp include:
Homemade Chilli Crisp
- ½ cup chilli flakes (you can use a combination of gochugaru and chilli flakes)
- 2-3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup neutral flavoured oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1-2 star anise
- 8-10 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (into "chips")
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
- Add the chilli flakes and/ or gochugaru, toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce and brown sugar to a large heat-proof bowl. Set this aside.
- Combine the sliced onion, garlic and aromatics (cinnamon stick and star anise) with 1 cup of oil in a saucepan on medium low heat, stirring gently to cook.
- Once the onions and garlic are caramelised and golden, strain them with a sieve. They will continue to crisp up with their residual heat.
- Strain our the aromatics from the oil and pour the infused oil (whilst it is still hot) over your bowl of chilli-mixture. Give it a good stir, then add in the crisp onion and garlic.
- Store refrigerated in an air-tight container (for up to a few weeks ) and enjoy with abandon!
Enjoyed This Chilli Crisp Recipe?
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We’d love to hear from you! Do let us know if you try this recipe – you can leave a comment below and/ or tag us in your delicious creations on Instagram @the_foodiediaries.
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