Hot Pepper Flakes in Oil

Lajiao You

Preparation info

    Appears in

    Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook

    By Ellen Schrecker

    Published 1976

    • About

    This is the condiment Mrs. Chiang uses most often to add hotness when she cooks. It is a simple, but powerful, combination of hot red pepper flakes and peanut oil. You can buy commercially prepared hot oil, but it is not really satisfactory, and in any case the home-made version takes all of 3 minutes to prepare. Not only is it easy to make, but it keeps for weeks in a closed container in the refrigerator. The pepper flakes are the kind of crushed chili peppers that you sprinkle over a pizza. They are available in bottles on the spice shelf of every supermarket, or you can make your own by crushing whole dried red peppers. Here is the recipe.


    • ¼ cup peanut oil
    • ¼ cup hot pepper flakes
    • ½ teaspoon salt


    Heat the peanut oil in a small frying pan or saucepan over a high flame until it has just begun to smoke, then remove the oil from the flame and let it cool off for 5 seconds.

    Add the hot pepper flakes to the hot oil; they will cause it to foam up. When the foaming subsides, add the salt. Stir well.

    The hot pepper flakes in oil are now ready to use. You can transfer them to another container for storage. Just make sure you stir them up thoroughly every time you use them, so you add both flakes and oil to your dish.