Recipe One (about 24-26 oz)
 
 3 cups grapeseed oil
 
1/4 cup sesame oil
 
6-10 star anise
 
2 sticks Asian Cinnamon (cassia) broken into medium-sized pieces.
 
4 bay leaves
 
1 cup asian dried pepper flakes (Thai or baby red's jawalla work great).
 
1/4 cup additional hot pepper flake for complexity/heat  (baby red's de arbol for a milder kick, baby red's smoked habanero for greater kick).
 
2 tsp sea or baby red's alder smoked sea salt
 
 

Recipe Two

3 cups grapeseed oil

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 1/2 cup asian pepper flakes
 
2 tsp salt

 
 

hung yao (chili oil)

baby red pepper co. 1/31/16
Here's a condiment you shouldn't be without. Chili Oil is an overlooked seasoning to have at hand for szechuan cuisine, stir frys, banh mi sandwiches, ramen bowls, or even as a general purpose marinade ingredient in place of a few tablespoons of olive oil. Red favors a hint of it in a vinegrette.  
 
The simple secret to making an oil infusion with any dried pepper is to modulate the oil temperature. Too cool, and the oil won't pick-up the flavor of the flakes. Too hot, and the flakes burn leaving you with a bitter mess. 225-235 F is about right for an oil infusion.
 
One caution about removing the seeds...wear a cheap set of disposable surgical gloves. Not only are you going to be handling dried peppers, you're going to be grinding them in a blender or spice grinder. They really, really want to rehydrate on your skin and they will stick. And then they will burn somewhere you really don't want them burning... which is why Red's Second Rule in the kitchen is never wipe your forehead with a forearm. (Number One is always wash hands before and after Number One to avoid the Dance of the  Dervish.)
 
As for grinding, I have several Braun spice grinders..one of which is used exclusively for peppers. For this, you want a coarser grind just to flake... so use a couple pulses of a blender on your lowest setting or crumble as you deseed by hand.
 
If you grow two-three thai pepper plants in 5 Gal. containers (paint black to better warm the roots--it makes a huge difference) or in your garden, you'll have an ample supply. Harvest as they ripen, stringing the peppers together with thread to air dry in the kitchen and you'll be rewarded with the perfect base for this preparation. Alternatively, any Asian grocery store should be able to sell you the chilies for under 6-7 dollars a pound.
 
Or,  you can go pay 30-40 dollars for a pint of  comparable quality from "some guy" and miss out on all your fun.
 
 
The "Grind" you want. A nice coarse, uniform flake. The few seeds are a not-to-worry sort of thing.
  1. De-seed your dry peppers by hand. If some are left behind, that's ok. The goal here is to let the flavor elements of the pepper dominate and reduce any bitterness from the seeds.
  2. Put your seeds in a large pyrex glass container or quart mason jar. For final storage, a Bale jar with wire closure and a rubber rim is a great choice.  For now, the mason jar is designed to stand up to the heat of the oil.  As for the bale jars...Set yourself up with a couple in the 4-8 oz. range and make gifts of this exercise, doubling or tripling the recipe once you;re confident you like the results. ( Freund Container has a perfect 7.6 oz air seal. They do sell and ship split cases.)  Gelatto spoons and the small condiment jars you see tabletop in Asian restaurants are perfect for the table.
  3. Heat your oil in a skillet over medium heat (with any aromatics  if you're doing the more complex recipe). A cast iron skillet is the way to go here. Wait until the oil it is just smoking and remove from the heat. Check your temperature and allow to cool to the 240-225 F range
  4. Remove the aromatics, if any, and slowly pour oil into the mason jar containing the flakes and salt. Stir to ensure the flakes are covered and not floating atop the oil.
  5. Let sit for up to one hour and strain through a fine mesh wire sieve for pure oil or spoon the flakes into your Bale jars to equally divide, then distribute the oil equally.
  6. Seal your jars and let cure for one week before use.
  7. Wash your hands thoroughly. Wash them again.