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  • Writer's pictureDevon Cookery School

How to Make Homemade Sichuan Chilli Oil in Just a Few Simple Steps

In the realm of fiery flavours, few concoctions stand as prominently as Sichuan chilli oil. It's not just a condiment; it's an experience—a symphony of spices that dance on your palate, leaving a tingling sensation that lingers long after the meal is over.

' Ma la' comes from two Chinese characters meaning, respectively, 'numbing' 麻 and 'spicy (hot)' 辣 and describes the sensation in the mouth the dish creates. This is very prominent in a lot of Sichuan cooking. But its not all about the heat, this chilli oil also has so many deeper flavours due to the amount of aromatic ingredients that are infused slowly into the oil

Whether you're drizzling it over noodles, dumplings, or a delicious crispy fried egg at breakfast, Sichuan chilli oil adds depth, heat, and a touch of numbing sensation unique to Sichuan cuisine. And the best part? You can make it at home, quickly and easily.

A run down on the ingredients:

  • Dried Red Chilli flakes. Typically, Sichuan chilli oil employs a variety of chilies, I used a mix of Arbol, Kashmiri and some Korean chilli flakes, but you can use just regular. The mix adds a subtle difference in flavours.

  • Sichuan Peppercorns: These little nuggets are responsible for the distinct numbing sensation that Sichuan cuisine is famous for. They add depth and complexity to the oil. When I buy them from the asian supermarket, they often come with the black seeds that are very gritty so i do my best to get rid of them if I can!

  • Garlic and Ginger: Fresh garlic and ginger provide aromatic undertones that complement the heat of the chilies.

  • Spring onions. While not always included, spring onions add a hint of freshness to the oil.

  • Oil: Use a neutral oil like vegetable or sunflower oil as the base. It serves as the carrier for all the flavours and helps mellow out the heat of the chilies.

  • Optional Spices: Star anise, cinnamon, bay and cloves are sometimes added to enhance the complexity of the oil.

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