Chilli oil is probably the simplest way to add a bit of flavour (not to mention heat) to virtually any dish. You can either use it to cook with in place of normal olive oil, or simply drizzle some over freshly prepared dishes. It will liven up any dish but it is particularly good on pizzas and pasta.
- Olive oil
- Dried red chillies
- Malt Vinegar
1. Take a handful of dried red chillies – about 7 or 8 medium size chillies should do the job, it all depends how hot you like it!. Add them to a pan of hot malt vinegar.
2. Simmer on a medium heat for 10 minutes.
3. After 10 minutes remove the chillies from the pan and allow the vinegar to drain off by placing on some kitchen roll.
4. Add the chillies to a pan of olive oil and gently heat. Once boiling simmer for 5 minutes.
5. After 5 minutes turn off the heat and leave the pan and the chillies to cool.
Chilli oil is used extensively in both European and Asian cooking. For a more authentic Asian style oil olive oil probably isn’t the best choice. Simply replace the olive oil in the above recipe for peanut or good quality vegetable oil.
A word of caution
Simply dumping a load of fresh chillies into a bottle of oil is not a great idea as it can result in botulism which to cut a long story short is a nasty which can in some very rare cases be fatal!
Unfortunately simply boiling the oil won’t reduce the risk. The way round this is to reduce the PH level of the chillies before putting them in the oil. This is achieved in the above recipe by first boiling the chillis for ten minutes in vinegar. In order to further reduce the risk I always use dried chillies, not fresh and makes sure I sterilize the bottle fist by boiling it in water.
Preserving In General
If you’re interested in preserving in general we can highly recommend the River Cottage Preserves Handbook. Authored by the Queen of Preserves Pam Corbin this great book covers everything from jams, pickles, chutneys liqueurs, vinegars to sauces.
The general advice in the book is spot on and will provide you with the core skills to start preserving your produce but it also contains over 70 great recipes to try straight away. At just under £10 on Amazon this book is a must for any kitchen.