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Chili oil problem

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

This is my first post, so hopefully I don't break any forum etiquette.  But I need some help.


I recently made some chili oil from dried Thai chilies from my garden.  I added 1/3 of a cup of crushed chilies to 1 cup of oil that had been heated up to 225 F and removed from stove.  The oil was then allowed to cool down to room temp, strained, and enjoyed.  (from a recipe)


My first batch was great.  Beautiful red color and perfectly spice level. The only problem was my food pro turned some of the crushed chilies into powder, so straining was difficult and I had a few floaters in the oil.  Not a big deal, but for batch number two I got the bright idea of just doing a rough chop instead of trying to get a small grind.  Well, it didn't turn out so hot.  The color was barely changed and there was no detectable heat in the oil.  I was very frustrated and I wanted to fix it, and apparently did so without thinking.  My mind was focused on the potential error of how large the chilies were, and I just grabbed my stick blender and decided to make them smaller.  Two quick pulses and I started to see a foggy orange oil. 


I was mad at myself for getting all of the air into the oil, and I was hoping that the air would leave the mixture after it had some time to set.  Well, that was 24hrs ago and I have yet to see any change. 


So, I have a few questions.  I'd like to understand why doing a rough chop vs a finer grind would have such an effect on spice level transfer?  Also, why the heck did my oil turn opaque just from a quick stir of the stick blender?  And, can my oil be saved? Can it be used?


Thanks so much!

post #2 of 2
Well, a rough chop is not allowing all that chile goodness to infuse into the oil, while a finer grind/chop is. Many things work that same way. I wouldn't worry about saving that oil, set it aside and use it for a vinaigrette or searing oil down the line. I personally would very finely chops those chiles, and let them steep in the oil for a week. You will get a nice flavor that way. If it doesn't have the color you like, add some cayenne pepper to it and lightly simmer it for 20 seconds or so, I wouldn't bring this to 225f. You'll have your color that way. On the other hand, I don't see why you can't do it in the food processor since you got good results, and strain though multiple layers of cheesecloth, then carefully skip off any crud on top of that after the oil settles.

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