Jihye Chang

“Korean Food”

How to make chili oil (Korean style)


My good friend Hmingi wanted to know how to make the chili oil I mentioned in my previous posting “Jihye’s Spicy Sesame Noodles” (http://jihyechang.com/wisdom/2009/11/27/jihyes-spicy-sesame-peanut-noodle)

Szechuan style chili oil is made with hot peanut oil and dried chili seeds or flakes. However we make chili oil with dried chili powder (“Gochugaru,” 고추가루) and garlic in Korea. Korean style chili powder is very different from “chili powder” that you would use for chili soup, so make sure you get it from a Korean grocery store! I also like to add a bit of grated ginger and salt. There are a few different methods for making the chili oil, but my favorite method is photographed above.

Here’s what you need:

1 cup oil (Canola or Sunflower seed)

4 TB Korean chili powder or powdered chili (Gochugaru), 4 cloves garlic, minced/ 0.5 ts grated ginger/ a pinch of salt

And this is how you make:

1) Heat up the oil in a small sauce pan – hot enough, but not smoking hot. I usually heat it up until the surface of the oil gets a bit shimmery. If the oil’s too hot, it will burn the chili powder. If it’s not hot enough, it will not release much flavor from the other ingredients.

2) Line a big strainer (as in the picture) with a kitchen towel. In a small bowl, mix the chili powder, garlic, salt, and ginger carefully. You don’t have to mix it thoroughly. Put the chili powder mixture over the strainer.

3) Prepare a heat-proof bowl underneath the strainer.

4) Pour the hot oil evenly and slowly over the chili powder mixture. If the chili oil comes through the strainer too slowly, wait a little bit and then pour again.

5) Cool completely and store in a glass jar.

This oil is great for making the best Kimchi fried rice and other yummy Korean foods. I will post something about Kimchi and Kimchi-related recipes soon!

Mom’s Summertime Somen Noodle


This is one of Ben’s favorite snacks, especially in the summer. My mom used to make it whenever I and my brother and sister were hungry and she did not have enough time to make a full meal. Somen is very thin wheat noodle, and it’s sold usually in a large packet with 8-10 bundles each tied with paper strip. This dish is super easy to make and only takes about 10 minutes. And it is so tasty! If you have some left over rice and a can of tuna, you can serve it with some rice balls as well. (I will post a recipe for that soon.)

Mom’s Summertime Somen Noodle


2 sticks somen noodle (Japanese or Korean thin wheat noodle, labeled as “Somen” or “Thin noodle”)

Dressing: 2 TB Soy Sauce, 3TB seasoned rice vinegar (such as Marukan), 3/4 TB toasted sesame oil (such as Kame or Baeksul brand) – mix together. If you have plain rice vinegar, sprinkle one pinch of sugar when you mix the dressing with the noodle.

1 clove garlic, minced/ 2 stems green onion (green part only), chopped/ black pepper

How to Make

1) Boil the noodle according to the package. Drain and wash with cold water. (Swish with chopsticks while boiling in order to prevent the noodles from sticking)

2) Pour the dressing and top with garlic and green onion. Mix thoroughly with chopsticks. Sprinkle a bit of black pepper.

3) Enjoy!

Tip: here is how I cook my Somen noodles.

Boil the noodle with a pinch of Kosher salt -> put the noodle in when the water starts rolling -> when it boils again, pour some cold water -> boil again ->pour cold water -> boil again and then drain/ wash.