Superhot Chinese Chilli Oil

Chinese Chilli Oil Recipe

I used to have this served as a condiment when eating dim sum at Must in Birmingham (now Purnell's Bistro) and thought it was the most amazing flavour combination with the pork and prawn parcels.

Years later, with Must no more, I was craving that flavour and did research into how to make this. There are a lot of examples out there, this is mine and it goes great, as said, with dim sum, but it's also an amazing seasoning to add zing to a stir fry.

Warning - a little goes a long way, so use with moderation!

Chinese Chilli Oil Recipe Video


Aromatics Ingredients for Chinese Chilli Oil

Aromatics for the oil:

  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • Thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 2 spring onions
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 piece of Chinese cinamon bark

Chinese chilli oil ingredients

Remaining ingredients:

  • 7 tablespoons of crushed red chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns


Things to have prepared for making the chilli oil; an oven-proof bowl or jug, a small saucepan, a sieve and a storage jar (I like Kilner jars). The oil will keep for a month safely if stored in a cool dry place.

  1. Pour the oil into the saucepan and add all the aromatic ingredients. 
  2. Put the saucepan on the lowest heat and bring the oil to a very gentle simmer. The oil will be ready when the spring onions have started to turn slight brown at the edges and you will smell the wonderful aromas of the ingredients.
  3. Sieve the ingredients out of the oil, pour the oil back into the suacepan and turn up the heat until the oil starts to smoke.
  4. Meanwhile, in the oven-proof dish add 5 tablespoons of the crushed chilli flakes.
  5. Pour in half the hot smoking oil and stir the chilli flakes, it will buble up a little, make sure your bowl is bigger than the ingredients. Warning - be careful the oil will be very hot.
  6. After 5 minutes add the rest of the chilli flakes, 1/4 teaspoon of Szechuan peppercorns and toasted sesame seeds.
  7. Poor in the remaining oil and stir everything together.
  8. Once the oil has cooled, pour it into the storage jar.
  9. Use with caution! 
Complete Chinese Chilli Oil