This food scraps chili oil is EASY, Scrumptious, and DELISH, and of course vegan!! Oh yes, I kid you not, it goes so well as toppings with noodles, dumplings, and rice.
Do you keep your food scraps or compost them? I do the latter the most for my small garden. However, food scraps such as carrot peels, veggies stems, or cabbage core are great ingredients to reuse in cooking. There are numerous ways to get creative in the kitchen with these. Check out a great list from Healthline.
Today, we’ll be repurposing them to a spicy and yummy chili oil.
Food scraps Chlli Oil key ingredients and Substitute
These are some of the key ingredients I used in this recipe.
- Mushrooms stems – These are from dried mushrooms that I’ve reconstituted in water. Once you’ve removed the top for your dishes, save these stems in a container until ready to use. I collected them over time for this recipe. Mushrooms add a great umami to any dish and it’s true in this recipe.
- Veggie Peel – I used carrot. Other options include: broccoli stems and daikon radish.
- Aromatics – Ginger, garlic skin, onion outer layer, or scallions tops are great aromatics to add.
- Chili Flakes – I used a mix of fine and coarse chili powder
- Seasoning – Soy sauce (use gluten-free if needed), sugar, salt, Chinese 5-spice powder, and mushrooms seasonings
How to make chili oil from food scraps
Step 1 – Prepare food scraps
The best way to prepare food scraps is using a food processor and I prefer to chop each ingredient separately. There are two great reasons for this: 1. Keep all the same ingredients in similar size 2. You can pan-fry each ingredient separately based on its moisture content. For example, you’ll want to pan-fry the mushroom stems first because it takes the longest time to cook.
Since onion peel and scallion tops have similar taste and moisture level, so I’ve combined them in one batch. Same goes with carrot and ginger peel.
Step 2 – Cook the food scraps with chili
You’ll notice that my chili oil has more sediment than oil compared to store-bought. It’s just because I love the crunch and texture of the ingredients. That being said, feel free to adjust the ingredients to oil ratio to your preference.
Heat a large skillet with a cup of oil medium heat. Pan-fry the mushrooms until aromatic and golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Next, add the onions (I combined the onion peels and scallion tops in one batch) and cook until it starts to release their aroma. Followed by carrot, ginger, and finally cabbage, mixing each until combined before each addition.
While cooking, you’ll see large bubbles each time you add an ingredient in. Cook until you see tiny bubbles and less sizzle which show the moisture has been removed. Then, add the chili flakes (I used a combination of coarse and fine), stir to combine before seasoning.
Food scraps chili oil cooking tips
- Remove the ingredient’s moisture as much as you can during cooking. This step is crucial so you’ll get a crispy sediment later. Always start pan-frying the highest moisture ingredient such as scallion tops or onion. I started with mushrooms because I wanted extract its aroma first.
- How do you check if you have removed the moist? Use the bubbles to determine. When you add an ingredient in, bubbles will form. The large bubbles will turn smaller after a few minutes of cooking which indicate most moisture has been removed.
- Maintain medium or medium-low heat throughout cooking
- Seasoning – add towards the end of the cooking and as soon as you stir in the sugar, turn off the heat. Please note the chili oil is still piping hot at this time, so handle with care.
- Cooking oil to use – I used avocado but olive is a great option as well. Some oil does solidify in fridge but that does not affect the taste. Just thaw to room temp when you ready to serve it.
How to store chili oil
Once the chile oil is completely cool, store it in a clean jar. It stores well at room temperature as long as there is a layer of oil covering the sediment. Refrigerate for up to 2 months or freeze for longer shelf life. Always use a clean spoon to scoop it out from the jar to avoid contamination.
Why you need this Food Scraps Chili Oil
- Easily customizable in terms of heat, gluten-free, or types of food scraps to put in
- Perfect to make in a big batch – yes, this is great for gift too!
- Adds a tasty yum on rice, noodles, or dumplings
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Food scraps Chili oil
- 1 cup cooking oil
- 1 cup carrot peel
- 6 scallion tops
- ½ cup ginger peel
- 1-2 large cabbage core
- 3 large onions peel
- 1 ½ cups mushroom stems
- ½ – ¾ cup chile pepper of choice used Sichuan chili pepper
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce plus more to taste
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon mushrooms seasoning
- Using a food processor, chop the food scraps ingredients into a coarse mixture, separately (I combined the scallion and onion in one batch).
- Then, heat a large skillet with oil over medium heat. Add the mushroom stems and stir-fry until aromatic and turn slightly golden. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the food scraps are fully cooked through, stirring occasionally. Higher moisture ingredients such as onion and scallion tops will take a little longer to cook down and may splash, so be extra careful.
- Add the chili pepper and stir. Then, season with soy sauce, salt, Chinese 5-spice powder, sugar, and mushrooms seasoning.
- Give it a few more stirs and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and cool down completely before storing them in a cleaned jar. Store in the fridge for up to 2 months or freezer for longer shelf life. Note: Always use a clean spoon to scoop the mixture if you can't finish them in one sitting or store them in separate smaller jars.
Feel free to pin the below picture on your Pinterest Board for easy reference.
Products I’ve used:
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means if you decide to purchase through my link I will receive a small commission for qualified purchases. Some products shown may have different brands from Amazon that I recommend as a suggestion. The links are embedded in the picture or shown as hyperlinks
1. Mushroom Seasoning – I used Po Lo Ku and highly recommend that you get it from the store ($17.99) if you can, to make sure you get the right one.
2. Chinese 5-spice powder – I can’t find the one I used (picture below) online but found a similar substitute here
3. Sichuan chili pepper – This is again cheaper at the store but if you are not near one, here is the link.