Healthy and Hot: The Benefits of Chili Oil

Most people immediately think of eating very spicy food when they hear the term chili oil. That is because it’s a popular spice added to many dishes and spices, especially those prepared in Asian restaurants. They know less about the origins of chili oil, such as that it comes from chili peppers known as Capsicum annuum. Chili itself is a fruit in the nightshade family. Its peppers produce several varieties, including cayenne, habanero, and jalapeno. It also has several health benefits.

Loaded with Protein and Vitamins

Chili oil contains one gram of protein for every 100 grams. Adequate amounts of protein are necessary to provide the body with the following benefits:

  • Strong immune system
  • Improved respiratory health
  • Prevents loss of muscle mass
  • Delivers oxygen to the blood to help build cartilage and muscles as well as provide central nervous system regulation

Chili oil also offers beneficial amounts of five important vitamins. Vitamin A, E, and K are instrumental in promoting bone health. These vitamins found in chili oil help people to maintain strong teeth and bones along with immunity to disease and healthy cell development. Vitamin K specifically aids in reducing blood clots throughout the body. The Vitamin D found in chili oil can help fight the weakening of bones, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin C is especially useful in preventing heart disease and stroke. It can even help people get over the common cold faster.

Use for Self-Defense in Pepper Spray

As delicious as chili pepper can taste on food, people can also use it to defend themselves against attacks and intruders. When extracted from a hot chili pepper, the ingredient oleoresin capsicum works as the active ingredient in pepper spray that people can carry in a tube on their keychain. The result for the attacker is swollen eyes and mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract. This allows the person who used the pepper spray to get away while the attacker suffers from temporary blindness, eye pain, difficulty breathing, and a runny nose.

Making Authentic Sichuan Chili Oil at Home

Anyone craving chili oil the way chefs prepare it in Sichuan can follow the recipe below to make it in just 60 minutes. The prep time is approximately 10 minutes and requires these ingredients:

  • 1 tsp grated garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lb Sichuan dry chili pepper
  • 1 lb vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 pieces of lanxangia tsaoko
  • 5 pieces of star anise
  • 5 pieces of bay leaves
  • 25 grams of sesame
  • 50 grams of ginger

After heating two teaspoons of oil to 250 degrees, the next step is to add dry chili powder and lower the heat. The cook should then follow these steps:

  • Stir the chili pepper for up to 45 minutes until it turns red
  • Grate the powder into 3 sections and place all of it in a stainless-steel pot
  • Heat a pound of vegetable oil to 200 degrees and then add the bay leaves, lanxangia tsaoko, and star anise
  • Increase heat to 250 degrees and add the ginger and spring onion
  • Add 25 grams of sesame at 400 degrees
  • Add oil and the grated garlic to the pot

The last step to enjoying authentic Sichuan chili oil at home is to allow the pot to cool down and then cover it with plastic for 24 hours before serving.