Sichuan Chili Oil
Why This Recipe Works
The hallmark of Sichuan chili oil is a balance between la—the concentrated heat from dried chiles—and ma—the numbing effect of Sichuan peppercorns. Blooming the aromatics (ginger, bay leaves, star anise, and cardamom) in vegetable oil brought out their flavor and built a pungent base. This hot oil was then poured over the chili powder, which helped build a deep, savory toasted chili flavor.