I love the combination of a powerful, tropical perfume triggered and balanced by the heat of chilies, with both flavors grounded in the base of a spice, as in fresh, new-crop Hawaiian pink ginger, garlic, and black pepper together. If using jasmine, just find a single stalk at the florist, or use gardenias as they do in China.
Use a light oil like almond, sunflower, or even canola, but make sure it is of good quality and fresh.
Sprinkle this oil on garlic-flavored creamy white beans accompanying a piece of salmon marinated in fresh basil, wrapped in bacon, and grilled and you will have discovered the excitement of easy yet spectacular cooking.
Put the jasmine, cardamom seeds, and chili in a glass jar.
In a saucepan, warm the oil until it is just, and only just, getting hot. Immediately pour it into the jar. Stir together.
Cover and let macerate for 2 hours, or longer for more intensity.
Keep cool and use within a week.
© 2002 Jeremiah Tower. All rights reserved.