This is a small-batch, handmade chili oil like you'd make at home if you had 11 Chinese spices on hand and the time to infuse them in oil before pouring over Sichuan ground chilies and a generous portion of cracked Sichuan peppercorns.
Unlike so many "Szechuan" sauces, this Szechuan Chili Oil actually lives up to its name: It tastes like Sichuan—with strong notes of Sichuan pepper, star anise, black cardamom and nine other Chinese spices layered with chili heat into a powerhouse flavor.
And it's a true chili oil, not a chili crisp. There are different styles of chili oil for different uses. Some, like Lao Gan Ma's Spicy Chili Crisp, are about 10% oil and 90% "crisp," which is fried shallot, garlic and other crunchy bits. LGM is used mostly as a condiment or when you want a lot of crunch.
The other type of chili oil has a much higher ratio of oil to solids and is best for the many Sichuan cold dishes that call for chili oil in the sauce. This chili oil—made by New York Times-starred chef Alex Sorenson—is about two-thirds oil and one-third solids, giving you the option of using clear oil in a recipe or including the flakes, so it is much more versatile for cooking.
This product is gluten-free, vegan and has no additives or preservatives. As is the norm in Sichuan, it is made with moderately spicy-hot chilies and is meant to be used in abundance.
Producer: Blank Slate Kitchen, Brooklyn, NY
Size: 8 ounces (240 ml)
Ingredients: canola oil, chili flakes, Sichuan peppercorns, sesame oil, salt, ginger, shallots, garlic, spices