In Sichuan, chili oil is made from one or more kinds of whole dried chilies that are first fried until crisp, cooled, 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 chili flakes made in Chengdu have already been fried in vegetable oil and then ground into a perfect mix of flakes, powder and seeds.
Xiang la (fragrant hot) flakes are a mix of er jin tiao chilis, which provide the fragrance and a sweet heat, with smaller chilies that provide the color and more intense heat. They produce a deep-red, moderately hot hong you (red oil), to be used abundantly in Sichuan cooking and condiments. Manufactured chili oil cannot compare with homemade, and these are the flakes for the job. See the Mala Project recipes for chili oil and crispy shallot chili oil for easy instructions.
This large, 1 pound bag will make many jars of chili oil and dozens of dishes. Store in a cool, dark place or, for longer term, in the freezer.
Source: Sichuan Huarui Trading Co., Chengdu
Size: 454 grams (1 pound); 4 cups by volume
Ingredients: Chili powder/flakes