Each Sichuan family has their own version of chilli oil.
My mom’s was rather simple: use the stone mortar to crush the dried chillies and pour hot oil to it afterwards.
So, I tried to make my own according to certain online recipes.
sesame, Sichuan peppercorn powder, chilli powder, salt
The difference with my mom’s version: saute various traditional spices with rap oil.
pour scalding oil to the chilli powder
each time when making a Sichuan dipping sauce, add two spoons of this chilli oil, sprinkle some minced spring onion, garlic, and ginger, along with a spoon of sesame oil or Sichuan peppercorn oil.
In the 90s, My dad used to make more complicated version by saute all the ingredients with broad bean paste first, and then cook the oil alone before pouring it, with ground sunflower seeds, sesame and peanut powder sprinkled afterwards. It took a lot of time, considering that the seeds had to be ground in the stone mortar by hand.
My mom asked me, “who taught him? He never cooked anything before our divorce.”
I replied, “He learned it by himself, not from anyone or any books”.
There was no Internet back then.
So, divorce + an urge to become a gourmet +chances to eat in various restaurants as civil servant+Sichuan man’s keen observation of flavours=a great self-made chef
My mom was very interested in the taste of my dad’s innovative dishes, because she had never seen him cooking anything at home.
I said, “His dishes are more savory than yours, because he is decisive, cruel, and knows what’s important, what’s not. He excels in selecting important features of ingredients and knowing how to combine them in different proportions.”
A dish, is like Chinese calligraphy, can reveal a man’s personality.