This spicy chili crisp recipe is my take on the cult-favorite lao gan ma chili crisp. It’s spicy, savory, umami, salty, sweet, and crunchy – oh, and reader beware, it is quite addictive.
What is Spicy Chili Crisp?
The original Lao Gan Ma Chili Crisp is an oily, spicy condiment made mainly from neutral oil and chili flakes, laced with crispy crunchy garlic and shallots. It has an addicive umami taste that can only be attributed to it’s MSG content – an ingredient that I have left out of my version. Instead of MSG, this chili crisp recipe uses a blend of tamari and mushroom powder to hit all those sweet umami spots. If you like chili oil, chili garlic oil, or sichuan chili oil, you’ll absolutely LOVE chili crisp.
How to Make Spicy Chili Crisp
The method to make this delicious crispy condiment is easy and attainable, and you probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen. The one item that you might not have is mushroom powder, which you can easily order online. If you don’t have, or you don’t want to buy, mushroom powder, you can also use a spoonful of vegetable broth powder.
This chili crisp recipe will use the following ingredients:
We start this recipe by cooking the garlic and shallots in a whole lot of oil. You’ll also add your cinnamon and star anise here, as the flavours will come out and infuse the oil as the aliums cook down. This part might take a while, so be patient. It’s much better to go low and slow than to heat it too high and burn the aromatics – that’ll only end with bitterness, and both literally and figuratively. You’ll want to watch the pot and stir intermittently. I like to keep my heat really low, at level 1, or low flame if you’re using gas. Be careful not to splash the oil onto yourself as it can be quite hot. Once the pieces start to brown and crisp, remove from heat.
Bloom the chili flakes
This is a fancy way of saying pour the hot oil onto the chili flakes. Before you do this – set it up! Place all of your chili flakes into a large heatproof bowl with a fine mesh sieve (strainer) on top. Pour the entire contents of the pan through the sieve. The oil will fall onto the chili flakes, while the onions and garlic will remain in the basket. Let them hang out here for a bit. This step helps to develop the chili’s flavour, while also allowing the shallots and garlic to crisp up a little bit more.
Add in the rest
Mix the crisped up shallots & garlic and the remaining ingredients into the chili oil. Stir and allow to cool to room temp before transfering to a mason jar & storing in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight. I like to keep my star anise & cinnamon stick in the jar as I find they continue to impart flavour – just be careful not to bite into one when serving!
Is Spicy Chili Crisp Allergen-Free?
If you’re looking to keep this recipe soy-free, simply replace the tamari with liquid aminos (also known as coconut aminos, or soy-free soy sauce.) If using vegetable broth powder, or mushroom broth powder, check the ingredients list, as they differ. With these simple swaps, this chili crisp recipe is free from all 8 major food allergens. No food allergens, no MSG, all the goodness of your favorite Asian condiment!
Uses for Spicy Chili Crisp
There are so many ways to use spicy chili crisp that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. This crispy chili oil will be your new favorite addiction. Here are a few of my favorite ways to eat spicy chili crisp:
1 ½cupsoilneutral oil such as canola, vegetable or peanut
2 – 3stickscinnamon
4 – 5wholestar anise pods
1tbspgrated fresh ginger
2tbspsoy sauceor coconut aminos if keeping soy-free
1tspmushroom powder you can substiture this for one mushroom broth cube, or vegetable broth powder
Place chili flakes, ginger, mushroom powder, soy sauce & sugar in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Place a a fine mesh strainer over the bowl. Set aside.
Add the oil, shallots, garlic, cinnamon & star anise to a saucepan.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Once the oil starts to sizzle, turn heat to low.
Allow onions and garlic to brown slowly in the oil, about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir gently every 5-8 minutes or so.
Once they are browned, pour the oil through the sieve that you'd set on top of the chili mixture. Allow the chilis to sit in the oil for about 15-20 minutes as the onions and garlic crisp up in the strainer. (DO NOT throw them away!)
Mix crispy onions & garlic back into the chili oil.
Allow to cool slightly before spooning into a mason jar.
Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight. Flavour will continue to develop as the mixture sits.
You may keep the star anise & cinnamon sticks in the mixture once jarring it, or remove them. I like to keep them in to continue adding flavour as it cools.Keeps well in the fridge for at least a month, but ours never lasts that long!