Chilly Oil — A Recipe Story

For the longest time, I had failed to notice the reddish oil swimming on the surface of the delicious Ramen served in restaurants. No matter what I did, the ramen I made at home tasted okay-ish. One day, I realised the reddish oil floating on the ramen in restaurants was the same thing in the tiny bowl that came along with dim sums. The tiny bowl of sauce had always felt too little for me. I was in love with this magical oily-looking sauce. This divine thing was called “Chilly Oil”. I decided to make this Chilly Oil myself.

I followed a recipe on YouTube and spent half my Saturday preparing this mouth-watering awesomeness. It required some 20-odd ingredients to prepare. I religiously followed the recipe to the T. The oil was boiled to the exact temperature, and the pan was placed at the precise angle specified in the recipe so the sun rays falling on the oil could do their magic.

My whole house smelled of Chilly Oil. I had made enough to last for months. I made ramen the very same day which magically turned out to be amazing, and tasted very close to the restaurant one. I felt proud and had happy tears. I clicked pictures, shared them with family and friends on WhatsApp, and persuaded everyone I knew to make Chilly Oil at home. I swore to them it would change their life.

Two months later

The chilly oil in the jar had vanished. I waited for the weekend to make time for Chilly Oil preparation. I opened the YouTube video again and waited for the sun to strike my pan as prescribed in the video. As I added ingredients, I realised I was out of a few. I was disappointed, but I went ahead.

Surprisingly, the Chilly Oil still tasted great. I looked at my Chilly Oil Jar and did a small victory dance. It was back on my shelf and in my life.

One month later

I was out of Chilly Oil. It was the rainy season, and there was no sunshine. I told myself “Calm Down Chaithra! Wait for a few hours, the rain will stop.” Only, it didn’t. I had now begun to show signs of withdrawal, so I decided to get my hands dirty, come what may. I had fewer ingredients than last time but I was undeterred.

Guess what? It was a success! Woo..hoo. I had another jar to keep me going for a few months.

One week later

I was out of Chilly Oil again!! Can you believe it? When I ran out of Chilly Oil this time, it was the middle of the night. Experience had taught me sunshine at an angle was not a necessary step. The weakness in my body was so much I could not even chop peeled garlic. So, Chilly Oil was made with Chilly and Oil. How Easy!

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