Fragrant-Hot Ground Chilies (Sichuan Chili Flakes, Xiang La La Jiao Mian)
In Sichuan, chili oil is made from one or more kinds of whole dried chilies that are first fried until crisp and then pounded in a large mortar and pestle before they are combined with hot oil. You can make yours that way using a combination of whole chilies we carry here, but it's safe to say that most of us will enjoy a shortcut. These chilies have already been toasted in rapeseed oil and then ground into a perfect mix of flakes, powder and seeds for use in chili oil or for addition to dishes such as hot pot and dry pot.
Xiang la (fragrant hot) ground chilies are a mix of three popular Sichuan chilies:
- Er jing tiao: Low spiciness, strong fragrance, very strong coloring ability
- Zi dan tou: Moderate spiciness, strong fragrance, strong coloring ability
- Xiao mi la: High spiciness, weak fragrance, weak coloring ability
The combination produces a deep-red, moderately hot chili oil (la jiao you), a basic pantry essential used in abundance to dress "liangban" cold salads, noodles, dumplings, wontons and more. See The Mala Market recipes for two-ingredient chili oil the way it's made in Sichuan (with roasted rapeseed oil) and for fragrant chili oil/chili crisp with add-ins.
Manufactured chili oil cannot compare with homemade and these are the chili flakes for the job, as those from other regions of the world are made and act differently. (Most are crushed instead of ground and do not include powder, nor are they toasted before being ground, plus they are often either too mild or too hot for Sichuan chili oil.)
Note that we previously called these Chili Flakes in keeping with American terminology, but have reverted to Ground Chilies as a more appropriate name. These should be used anytime a recipe calls for Sichuan chili flakes, including all the recipes on our blog.
Our ground chilies contain no additives or preservatives. Store in a cool, dark place or, for longer term, in the freezer.
Source: Chilies grown in Guizhou Province and processed in Chengdu, Sichuan
Ingredients: chilies, rapeseed oil
Size: 7 ounces (200 grams); 2 cups by volume