Category : Condiment
Preparation time : 45 mins
Serves : 3 standard 300ml jars
Cost : USD7
This is a good accompaniment to any dishes you have that are on the non-spicy or neutral side or when you want to add just that extra bit of heat (and flavour, I may add) to any dish.
- 4 cups of dried red chillies
- a head of garlic (also called a bulb), which the whole thing;
- salt to taste;
- 7 – 8 heaped tablespoons of dried prawns;
- oil – could use canola, peanut, sunflower.
Chillies originate from many different countries and there are many variations of dried chillies. Knowing the heat level of the chillies is important so that you achieve the right balance and you adjust the quantity used. You can also have a mix of ordinary dry chillies and chilly-padi (bird seed) dried chillies.
- Do not wash your chillies prior to use. Cut the chillies into smaller pieces if you want the blending process to be quicker.
- Clean all your garlic pods and slice thickly.
- All these two ingredients together with the dried prawns into your blender.
- To this, add between 2 – 3 cups of oil. You do not use water in the blender at all. When blending, if you find the ingredients are not moving, it may help to start by pulsing instead. Add more oil until you see the ingredients are all moving smoothly inside.
- You decide on how fine you want the chilli oil to be. Personally, I like it a little crunchy so I dont blend until its a fine paste. I stop the blending and examine the mix. If all the big chunks are gone and the paste is rough chopped, you can give it another whizz or two before ending.
- In a frying pan add a bit of oil and pour in the blended mix. Put the fire on a low to medium heat. If too hot, the mix will burn easily. This takes between 10 – 15 minutes.
- The mixture will be quite thick. At this point, you can add another cup of oil to the mix which will lighten the mixture and make it easy to stir.
- When done, pour all the chilly oil into another large ceramic container to cool down. Later, this may be bottled into small jars.
How can it be used?
- to accompany a light stew served with rice;
- to spice up a vegetable or meat & veg stir fry;
- the perfect way to make your devilled eggs;
- on hot buttered toast, as a simple snack.
- In humid weather, dried chillies need to be dried thoroughly to ensure they keep and do not get mouldy. You can either dry the chillies again once you purchase them before you bottle it or you could store it in the fridge as it will keep longer;
- Same goes for dried prawns which tend to age faster left at room temperature and can acquire a very strong metallic smell when it has gone off;
- all jars used should be cleaned and dried thoroughly prior to use;
- the oil should be completely cooled before you close the jars;
- a clean dry spoon should be used each time to ensure the oil keeps;
- if sufficient oil is used in the chilly oil, it will keep for at least three months.