1½ cups (approx. 230g) fermented black beans
500ml sunflower oil or other neutral oil
2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
3 black cardamom pods
5 slices ginger
2 spring onions
¾ cup (approx. 80g) chilli flakes
¼ cup (approx. 25g) fine chilli powder
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black vinegar

It’s easy enough to buy black bean chilli oil, but it’s also lovely to make your own. Last year I made a version of this to give as Christmas gifts.

There are a lot of spices here and some of these can be tricky to get hold of. I usually get them from my local Chinese or Indian supermarket. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the spices; they do add complexity but think of this as a rough guide. I like to add a finer ground chilli to the mix which helps to add colour to the oil.

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1.Fermented black beans often come with slices of dried ginger – if so, you’ll need to pick the ginger out before using the beans.
2.Rinse the beans and drain well on paper towels. If you prefer you can lightly mash half the beans.
3.In a saucepan, put the sunflower oil, Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon, star anise, bay leaves, fennel seeds, black cardamom pods, ginger and spring onions.
4.Put onto a low heat and slowly bring up to 120°C to allow the flavours to infuse – this should take around 20 minutes.
5.Strain the oil through a fine-meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, discarding the aromatics. Return the oil to the saucepan.
6.Add the fermented beans, put onto a medium heat and bring back up to 120°C – approximately 10-15 minutes.
7.While the beans are cooking, put the chilli flakes, chilli powder, sesame seeds, salt and black vinegar in a bowl. Set aside.
8.Add half the chilli mix to the hot oil. It will sizzle up, so allow it to subside then add the remaining chilli. Set aside to cool.
9.Spoon into clean and dry sterilised jars. Keep in the fridge. Use over everything.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Jess Hemmings