Facing heaven chillies, also known as Chaotian chillies, are hot and fragrant chilli peppers. Unlike other chillies which point down as they grow, the facing heaven chilli points up to the sky – hence the unusual name. Dried facing heaven chillies are a pantry staple in the Sichuan province of China. Fry them in oil to release their fragrance, then pair with cold and numbing Sichuan peppercorns for a classic Sichuan meal.
This makes a delicately aromatic chilli oil. Perfect tossed through a meditative bowl of plain noodles with dash of soy sauce. The chilli oil intensifies over time.
Chinese Chilli Oil Ingredients - Makes 150ml
Chilli Oil Method
- Place the following in the base of a sterilised and heat-proof glass jar (jam jar, Le Parfait jar, Kilner jar, etc): chaotian chillies ground to flakes in a spice grinder, star anise, white sesame seeds and bay leaf.
- Heat peanut or sunflower oil in a small pan until it reaches 170-180°C.
- Rest the glass jar in a bowl, just in case it cracks. Carefully pour the hot oil over the spice mixture - it will spit a little, so take care - and close the jar. Best left overnight before using.
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
Chilli Oil Noodle Ingredients
Facing Heaven Chilli Oil Noodles Method
- Cook dried wheat noodles in boiling water.
- While the noodles cook, spoon the homemade Chaotian chilli oil with light soy sauce into the base of a bowl.
- Finely slice the green parts of spring onions.
- When the noodles are cooked, drain and place in the bowl with the soy sauce and chilli oil.
- Top with the spring onions. Serve, and mix well before eating. Add more chilli oil or salt to taste.
After a stage as a chef at a London Michelin-starred restaurant Nicola became obsessed with seeking the best flavours from around the world. She started Sous Chef in 2012, and is always sharing her knowledge of ingredients and writing recipes to showcase those products. Learning from the products, Sous Chef's suppliers and her travels, Nicola has written the majority of the recipes on the Sous Chef website, all of which are big on flavour.