Best Chili Oil Ever | KNKX

Best Chili Oil Ever

May 9, 2018

I'd never heard of Chili Crisp until recently, but Laoganma (Old Godmother) brand Chili Crisp is a Big Thing.  In fact the Laoganma  brand is the top-selling line of chili oils and sauces in China and is rapidly gaining a large following as the cult condiment de jour here in the states.

Food writer and teacher Sohla El-Waylly tells how Tao Huabi invented her chili oils to toss with the noodles she sold in her shop.  It became so popular, she started bottling it and she's now on the Forbes list of China's richest women.  Read all about her here.

Look for Laoganma brand oils and sauces at Asian markets or online.  I haven't tried them yet, but I have mixed up a home made version using El-Waylly's recipe, which she describes as "The love child of Laoganma and Frito-Lay."  I'd call it the best I've ever had, but it's really much better than that. Chili Crisp hits all the flavor and texture bases.  It's sweet, savory, salty, and spicy with a satisfying crunch.  The stuff's great on anything from dumplings to scrambled eggs, or just straight off the spoon.  

I had a lot of fun assembling the ginger, fried garlic and shallots, star anise, Sichuan pepper, dried mushroom powder, salt, sugar, MSG (yes, get over it), cardamom, peanuts, and three kinds of dried chilies.    

Even though that's a lot of ingredients, El-Waylly's recipe which includes a funny and informative video, is easy enough to put together.  And making your own allows you to adjust the chili varieties to your personal Scoville tolerance.   

You'll find a decent selection of dried chilies in most supermarkets these days, though you're better off shopping in Asian or Latino markets where the turnover is faster, insuring a fresher product.  Test them by flexing the chilies through the packaging.  They should still feel flexible.  If the chili is brittle it's over the hill.

Happy concocting!

"I think wolves would prefer spicy things.  It's bears who crave sweets." – Isuna Harekura