Take your meals and desserts to the next level with this Homemade Umami Bomb Chili Crisp recipe!
What is Chili Crisp?
Chili crisp is a spicy infused oil with flavourful crunchy bits of garlic, onions, chili peppers and nuts, used as a condiment or sauce.
The most well known and popular chili crisp is the brand Lao Gan Ma (translating to godmother in Chinese). Lao Gan Ma was founded by Tao Huabi in 1997, by opening a small noodle shop to support her family. People loved the sauce so much, she started bottling it up and selling it!
Why you’ll LOVE this Umami Bomb Chili Crisp
- it’s spicy with subtle sweet and fruity notes
- it’s full of umami goodness thanks to the mushroom powder and MSG
- frying and infusing the aromatics in oil yields ensures optimal flavour
- the heavy hand of fried shallots, fried garlic, nuts and sesame seeds add extra crunch and texture
- the serving size is just as generous as Lao Gan Ma 😉
I know, the list of ingredients look quite long, but they’re mostly staple ingredients (for me, anyway). Because there are so many ingredients, if you skip out on one or two, it won’t make TOO much of a big difference in flavour. The full list of ingredients can be found in the recipe card.
Components & Ingredients for Chili Crisp
I know, the list of ingredients look quite long, but they’re mostly staple ingredients (for me, anyway). Because there are so many ingredients, if you skip out on one or two, it won’t make TOO much of a big difference in flavour. The full list of ingredients can be found in the recipe card. There are three main components to chili crisp:
You must use a neutral-flavored oil with a high-smoke-point oil like canola, peanut, vegetable, or soybean oil.
2. Aromatics & Seasoning
- Shallots &/or scallions:
- Chili flakes: the type of chili flakes wii determine the spiciness of your chili oil. My spice mix consists of: togarashi (20 g), gochugaru (20 g), paprika (5 g) and red chili flakes (5 g).
- Orange Peel: gives it a fragrant fruit note
- Sichuan peppercorns
- Star Anise
- Cinnamon stick
- Bay leaf
- Cardamom pod
3. Crispy Add-ins
- Fried garlic
- Fried shallots or onions
- Roasted nuts: almonds, cashews and/or peanuts
- Toasted sesame seeds
The fourth component, while not essential… I highly recommend adding for the very best chili crisp:
- Sugar: to balance out the spiciness
- Mushroom powder &/or msg: this is what gives this chili oil that rich umami flavour
- Sesame oil: for flavour
- Soy sauce: I highly recommend using Usukuchi (light) Japanese soy sauce
- Miso paste: mixed (awase) or white miso paste
- Chili paste: either gochujang or doubanjang (chili bean paste)
How to Make Chili Crisp
- Thinly slice the shallots and garlic. I highly recommend using a mandolin for even slices. Prepare a strainer over a bowl with a spout and keep beside your stove. Prepare a paper-towel lined baking tray and set beside the bowl.
- Heat the oil in a shallow pot (or pan) over medium high heat. Add the shallots and once they begin to bubble, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often with chopsticks to separate the rings. The shallots touching the side of the pot tend to cook quicker, so be sure to stir around the edge for even cooking. Cook until they just turn slightly golden brown (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and pour over the strainer, and then place the fried shallots onto the prepared paper towel-lined tray.
- Place the oil back into the pot and then add in the sliced garlic. Heat over medium, and stir the garlic. Once they start to sizzle, reduce heat to medium low and fry until just golden brown (about 3 minutes). Strain over the bowl again and then scatter the garlic chips on the prepared lined tray. They continue to cook and crisp up with the excess oil so carefully work quickly.
- Place the oil back into the pot. Add the white parts of the scallions, garlic, ginger, orange peel, cayenne peppers (if using), peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and cardamom. Set the heat to medium. Once it starts to sizzle, keep an eye on it for the first 5-10 minutes, we want to maintain a constant temperature of 225 – 250 F (110 – 120 C) and it should be gently sizzling around the spices. Adjust the heat as necessary (I usually need to reduce it to low over a gas stove ). Let the oil cook and infuse for 30 – 60 minutes. During that time, check to ensure nothing it burning. If you notice any of the fresh ingredients beginning to burn, remove them (the garlic is edible!).
- In the meantime, add the sugar, mushroom powder, msg, salt and chili flakes in a heat safe bowl.
- Before pouring the oil over the chili mix, be sure the temperature is at 250 – 300 F. Increase the temperature as needed. Carefully pour the oil through a fine strainer, and then stir.
- Stir in the sesame oil, soy sauce, miso paste, gochujang. Crush in the garlic chips. Add in the fried shallots, nuts, sesame seeds and stir well.
- Once cooled, transfer to a airtight jar and store in the refrigerator. Serve on everything and enjoy!!!
Tips & Tricks
- Be sure to use a shallow pot when frying the shallots or garlic or it takes quite long and increases chances of un-even cooking.
- Let the shallots and garlic air dry overnight to keep them crispy
- Check the aromatics while letting it infuse to ensure nothing burns. If anything is starting to burn, remove it.
Ways to Use Chili Crisp Oil
- Chili Crisp Fried Rice
- Vanilla Ice Cream / Mochi Ice Cream
- Tossed in salads
- Chili Oil Focaccia
- Avocado toast (or any toast, really)
- Topping for mac & cheese
- Stir Fries
- Chili oil hummus (coming soon!)
- Over rice & onigiri
- Chili Crisp Grilled Cheese
Chili Crisp FAQ
How spicy is chili crisp?
This will depend on your spice tolerance and the type of chili flakes used. My blend of chili flakes I use is about a 6/10 spiciness (I have a pretty low spice tolerance, though). Japanese taberu rayu tends to be quite mild whereas Chinese varieties tend to have a bit more kick to them.
How to store chili crisp?
Refrigerate for up to 6 months. Always use a clean utensil when using.
Where to buy chili crisp?
If you do prefer to buy chili crisp, you can find these chili sauces wherever Chinese ingredients are sold. You can also buy them online. Here are a few of my favourite brands:
- Lao Gan Ma
- S&B Crunchy Garlic Chili Oil
- Fly by Jing
You can find these chili sauces wherever Chinese ingredients are sold. You can also buy it online from several sellers, though as with all Chinese packaged products found on Amazon it seems, it will be significantly more expensive than in-store prices.
What is the difference between chili oil and chili crisp?
Chili oil is typically made with just chilies, oil and aromatics that are strained out. Chili crisp has the crispy bits remaining and additional ingredients added for extra crunchy texture.
SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓
If you recreate this Umami Chili Crisp recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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