farmers market chili oil

farmers market chili oil

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Dried chili peppers are usually available in late fall in NYC's farmer's markets, so I was a little surprised when I came across dried red shishito peppers at Lani's in Union Square at the end of July. I've rarley seen red shishito peppers, let alone dried ones so I was fascinated by this greenmarket find, and also curious how people usually prepare them. They suggested a chili oil which has always been on my "Things To Cook" list, so it had to be done! I love that it's one more ingredient that I can add to my free-from-plastic-packaging list too!

1 pint dried chili peppers

2 star anise

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 - 2 cups neutral oil (sunflower, grapeseed, or vegetable oil)

2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

2 Tbsp sichuan peppercorns, bruised (optional)

  • Roughly chop the dried chilis, removing the stems. Take half of them and place them in a hi-speed blender/food processor/coffee grinder and grind it into a powder. Transfer the chili powder in a medium-sized heatproof bowl with the star anise, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and a teaspoon of salt. 

  • In a small saucepan, pour the oil in, and add the remaining dried chili pieces, the crushed garlic cloves, and Sichuan peppercorns. On a medium-high heat, bring the oil to a boil. Make sure to keep an eye on this so the garlic doesn't burn. When the garlic is nicely browned (not black!) strain the hot oil directly into the bowl with the salted  chili powder. Be careful, because the hot oil will bubble vigorously when it hts the powder! Let this mixture infuse while it cools down. You can remove the star anise, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick. Transfer  the oil and sediment to an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

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