I've loved spicy crispy chili for at least a decade, but it wasn't until last year when I couldn't find it I realized I had to make my own. I did it once, and there's been no going back. I like mine heavy on stuff, not oil, but it makes for a slightly less crispy experience. If you want everything to be crispy, add an extra 1/2 cup of oil. —allthebutterforit
neutral oil (canola, sunflower, etc)
head garlic, thinly sliced
shallots, thinly sliced into half-moons
cinnamon stick, broken in half
wide pieces orange zest
sesame seeds (white, or a mix of black and white)
Pour the oil into pot that holds at least 1.5 liters. Add the garlic, and bring the heat up to medium. Cook the garlic for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is just golden. The garlic will continue cooking off the heat, and if it’s too dark when it leaves the pan it’ll get bitter.
Remove the garlic from the oil. I like to set a colander over a pyrex measuring cup and pour the oil through to make sure I got all of the garlic (because, burnt garlic is gross) but you can also do it with a slotted spoon. Set the garlic aside to cool completely.
Pour the oil back into the pot. Add the shallots, cinnamon stick, star anise, and orange peel and cook, breaking up clumps as needed (shallots like to clump for some reason) until the shallots are well browned, 10-15 minutes. Remove the shallots from the oil, and set aside to cool. Leave the spices and orange zest in the pot.
If it’s not already there, put the oil back into the pot. Add the sesame seeds and cook for a minute. Add the chili flakes, and cook until they’ve darkened in color, 2-3 minutes. Unless you like crying, do not be tempted to get up close and smell this.
Once the chili has darkened in color, put the whole pot in your sink. Stir the sugar into the chili mixture. Pour in the soy sauce and stand back. It’ll hiss and spit (oil+water), so don’t have your hand too close. (It shouldn’t bubble over if you've used a big enough pot, but it’s in the sink just in case it does.)
Set the chili oil aside to cool completely. While it cools, chop the garlic and shallots into smaller pieces.
Once the oil is completely cooled, stir the garlic and the shallots into the oil. Pour the crispy chili into a clean jar, and store in the fridge for up to a month, (if it lasts that long).