I adore citrus flavors and love the combination of chili and orange, so making this oil was inevitable. It is a fabulous ingredient and a mainstay of my kitchen cupboard.

Choose oranges with unblemished skins that have been kept as free as possible of waxes and dyes, then wash them carefully with a light liquid detergent, warm water, and an abrasive sponge. The effort may seem kooky, but it makes a difference. So too will a sharp vegetable peeler that will pare off the flavorful skin (zest) and not the bitter white pith.

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Ingredients

  • 3 large oranges with unblemished skins
  • ½ cup shockingly pungent dried red chili flakes
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese black beans (do not rinse them), coarsely chopped
  • 1 to 2 large cloves garlic, lightly smashed and peeled
  • 2 cups corn or peanut oil
  • ¼ cup Japanese sesame oil

Method

  1. Wash the oranges as described above. Peel away the thin layer of orange zest (leaving behind the white pith) and finely mince it.
  2. Combine the minced zest with all of the remaining ingredients in a heavy, non-aluminum 2- to 2½-quart saucepan. Bring to 225° to 250°F on a deep-fry thermometer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, and let bubble for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand until cool or overnight.
  3. Scrape the oil and seasonings (we call these the “goop”) into a glass or plastic container, cover, and store at cool room temperature.
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