Ooh, my favorite!


Garlic chili oil
April 21, 2010, 9:41 am
Filed under: Recipes, Thai Style

This condiment is a staple in every Thai kitchen, and oh my gosh, there are no words to describe its yumminess. Just the word garlic is all I need to hear, but then you add fried to the mix and it’s on a whole different level; I’d even go so far as to say the same level as bacon. Then, with the addition of ground chili and a touch of sugar we’re in a different world all together.

This chili recipe actually stems from the basic fried garlic oil that’s used daily in Thai cooking, so if you prefer just the fried garlic, you can still use this recipe, just omit the addition of the chili and sugar. I typically have both handy since it will last for a few weeks.

Garlic chili oil

– 15 cloves of garlic, peeled and mashed in a mortar and pestle (food processor will work too)

– 3/4 cup canola oil

– 1-2 tablespoons crushed red chili flakes

–  2 teaspoons sugar

In a small pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. You can test the temperature by dropping in a tiny piece of garlic; it should bubble right away, but be far from burning. When it comes up to temp add the garlic. Stir often and watch the garlic carefully to see how the color changes. After about two minutes it will reach a light yellowish color, about a minute or so longer and it’s a rich golden color with hints of the lighter yellow. Stir in the ground chili flakes and sugar and remove from the heat.

Note: The garlic will continue to cook after it has been removed from the heat, so the trick is to pull it a minute or so before it’s done.

Let cool and store in an air-tight container. Do not refrigerate.

If you want to skip the chili and sugar, simply pull the garlic from the heat when it reaches the rich gold and yellow stage. That’s it.

Here’s a pic from a batch I made a few weeks ago. I was feeling lazy and used the food processor to chop the garlic, so feel free to do that too. I do prefer the texture of the smashed garlic from the mortar and pestle, but in a pinch the food processor is great.

Serving suggestions:

– Soups (see my Jok recipe)

– Pizza (so good on a slice of margherita!)

– Sauteed greens (spinach, kale)

– Fish

– Use the oil in other cooking around the kitchen, it has a great flavor

Only a tiny amount is needed per serving. For a big bowl of soup like jok or pho I’ll add just under a teaspoon–you still want to be able to taste the flavors of your dish.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thanks for the PSA! My hubs is addicted to Thai…thanks to me!

Comment by Kristin

Yes, of course! A fellow Thai foodie is always loved here.

Comment by Natira

I will try this one for sure. Looks easy!!

Comment by tessa

This looks really good. I’m going to have to order Thai food this evening.

Comment by Des




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