Quick Chilli and Garlic Oil with Sediments (Simplified Taberu Rayu)

taberupI am a lazy cook. If I prepare something regularly, you can be sure that at a certain point I will try to  simplify the method, to cut down the preparation time, reduce the list of ingredients, etc.. My beloved thick Japanese chilli and garlic oil (taberu rayu) is the best example. This lazy version is still delicious, but takes only about ten minutes (compared to the original fourty) and calls for less ingredients.

First of all, I owe a quick explanation to all those who have never heard of this thick chilli oil. Taberu rayu (食べるラー油) appeared in 2009 in Okinawa as a modified version of chili oil, originating from China. The name means literally “chili oil for eating” probably because a big part of the condiment is solid and this solid crunchy part is what makes this seasoning so special. It can be used on rice, noodles, on stir-fried meat/vegetables, added to soups just before serving, put into wraps, sandwiches, salads… The possibilities are endless.

As in case of most Japanese products sold in Switzerland, taberu rayu is quite expensive. Since we became addicted to it and were able to empty one tiny jar a week, I asked Robert-Gilles, from Shizuoka Gourmet if he knew a way to make this amazing seasoning at home. My generous and kind friend found and posted an excellent taberu rayu recipe, which I have been putting into practice about once a month for the past two years. In the meantime, I have also developed this simplified version, so now, when I’m in a hurry or just feel lazy, I am able to prepare it at the spur of the moment! Thank you once more, Robert-Gilles!

If you want to taste the more elaborate version, much closer to the real taberu rayu, here is the recipe:

Taberu Rayu (Japanese Chilli and Garlic Oil with Sediments)
Taberu Rayu (Japanese Chilli and Garlic Oil with Sediments)

Preparation: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients (fills approximately a 200 ml jar):

100 ml (about 3,4 fl oz) canola oil (or another oil with a neutral taste, supporting high temperatures, for example grapeseed oil)

50 ml (about 1,7 fl oz) sesame oil

4 heaped tablespoons Korean chilli powder

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar (I used agave syrup)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

5 big garlic cloves, finely chopped

Heat both oils in a small pan.

In the meantime, in a big metal or glass (heat resistant) bowl, put the chilli, the sesame seeds, the sugar, the salt and the soy sauce.

When the oil is hot enough to fry the garlic (a bit of garlic thrown into the oil will stay at the surface, the oil will start bubbling around and instantly frying it), throw delicately the chopped garlic and take out as soon as it is slightly golden. It will take about one minute or less.

Do not over-fry it or it will become bitter.

Slowly, constantly stirring, pour the oils with garlic into the bowl filled with chilli.

Put into a jar and keep for one month at room temperature.

31 Replies to “Quick Chilli and Garlic Oil with Sediments (Simplified Taberu Rayu)”

  1. Wow, this looks gorgeous Sissi. So if I’m understanding correctly, the mass (or solid portion in the oil) in this case is the Korean chili powder? It looks so appetizing and I agree, the chunkiness makes it different and special — I would love to spread this onto just about everything including our morning eggs. Does that nice rich colour come about after sitting for a while or does it look that way right from the beginning? I’m amazed that you can achieve something this delicious and robust in 10 minutes (though I prefer to call the method efficient or smart rather than lazy 😉 ).

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. Yes, you are right! Korean chilli powder is medium hot most of the time (or even less hot… nothing compared to Indian chilli powder for example), so you can put a whole tablespoon into a bowl of rice and it’s just hot, not horribly hot. Moreover, it’s not as fatty as pure oil. I use the solid part in many dishes because it has more flavour than the oil part and you can put it into sandwiches or wraps where oil would simply spill.
      Actually this lovely colour appears after practically at once (well, let’s say I leave it for one hour until it cools down and then pour everything into a jar and it already has this lovely red hue). I buy Korean chilli powder by 500g (about 1 pound) bags for both kimchi and this seasoning.
      Thank you so much for your kind words. “Efficient” sounds more serious indeed 😉

  2. A lot of us feel lucky to get simplified version Sissi (so thanks for being lazy!). I debated to spend $6 on a jar the other day when I was at a Japanese supermarket. I will try this quick version first! We are eating more spicy food because older kid started to enjoy it. The little one still complains “spicy!!!!!!!” for mild spicy food but working on it. ;). This sounds perfect!

    1. Nami, I would be honoured and delighted if you tried my humble quick taberu rayu recipe! Your daughter takes after her father I guess 😉 Please let me know what you think if you ever try this simple method. (By the way, here taberu rayu costs I think about 7$ and given the speed with which my husband used to empty it… we save lots of money now! I wish I could make tobanjan, but all the recipes I have seen are horribly long and difficult… so I brought ten tubes from Japan and we still have two or three more waiting for next trip in the autumn 😉 ).

  3. Sissi I love spicy condiments, and especially on rice and pasta, even soup! Sounds like a simple, elegant and such a pretty color. Korean chilli powder certainly is different from any other…love the oil around it, and would certainly my secret stash; just to use it for myself!

  4. I have a store bought taberu layu in my fridge. Making this at home never, never cross my mind… Incredible! And it just look like it….no, it’s much better. You’re amazing!

    1. Thank you so much, Nipponnin, for such kind words. I’m not sure if it’s better, but it’s definitely much cheaper 😉

  5. Sissi, you are a girl after my heart!! I remember when you made the original version which I wanted to make, but it was too much trouble. Ha Ha. So your simplified version has me very, very excited! I bought 2 pounds of red chile (chilli) powder last month, but even though it’s not Korean chilli powder I think it might make a great garlic oil. I’m making a pot of pinto beans this afternoon, so I bet this would be a fabulous condiment to scoop on top!!! Love, love, love it!!! Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes Sissi!

    1. Dear MJ, I am so happy to learn you were interested in this seasoning! Even if you don’t cook Japanese often, it is delicious in every type of cuisine (I put it into wraps, sandwiches, etc..). I think you are the only person I know who also buys chilli powder by pounds 😉 I never buy less than 1 pound! We are soul mates indeed. Any chilli powder will do here. (Actually, to tell you the truth, I often mix the Korean chilli powder with Hungarian one because somehow the Korean powder sold here is not hot enough for us!). Thank you so much, MJ, for all the compliments and kind words.

  6. This sounds excellent. I tried making garlic oil by adding garlic to oil over low/medium heat and letting infuse, its Ok but not great. I like your quick version and will surely try it. And I also like the fact that it keeps for a month.

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. Here the only difficulty is being quick: garlic fries very quickly and if you don’t pay attention it gets bitter. I hope you will like this oil.

  7. Today I was at the bulk food store and was astounded at the variety of chilli available, I hadn’t noticed the type you mention but I’m sure I could find it easily in our Asian grocery stores. We are very fortunate to have such a variety of Asian foods and often much more reasonably priced than North American foods. Switzerland is indeed a very expensive place.
    Your recipe is beautiful and the ingredients selected for your ‘lazy’ version sound delicious. In my mind, lazy would be buying the ready made sauce, making it from scratch is not lazy at all. And that you were able to simplify it is very clever indeed. The colour of the finished oil is beautiful too. I made a lovely Asian inspired dish tonight and this oil would have been quite appreciated; although my husband loved the dish, it could have used a little heat for my taste. I’m definitely bookmarking this for preparation…it may even be an inspiration in a new business venture I am working on…details to come!

    1. Thanks a lot, Eva. Actually, most Asian products are cheaper in Switzerland than for example in France (I suppose it’s because we have many Asian immigrants, restaurants, several big Asian grocers and the Swiss, I think, cook more often foreign cuisines than the French), but Japanese food is an exception (Korean too, but we don’t have strictly Korean grocers).
      You sound very mysterious! I’m really curious about your new venture and even though I don’t know what it is, I cross my fingers!

  8. Although my stomach has great difficulty digesting hot dishes, I can’t help craving them. This is one fine ingredient Sissi!

  9. I enjoyed the little history on this post of yours Sissi. Chilli oil is one of my weaknesses and I’m sure I would enjoy a few drops of this in a stir fry? The photo is making me drool. Thank you Sissi. 🙂

  10. I love the look and sound of this condiment. I have a question…in your comments you mentioned “strain to a jar”, and I am a little confused. What are you straining out as it looks like the chilies and oil are both in the bowl?

    1. Thank you so much, Karen. I’m sorry it was a mistake. Of course I meant “pour into a jar” (I will correct my comment at once). Nothing should be strained of course since the biggest charm of this oil is the solid part 🙂 Thank you for letting me know!

      1. Thank you so much Sissi,for letting me know. It didn’t look like you strained anything. 🙂 I don’t think I’ll be able to find Korean peppers but I’m definitely going to make your recipe with another pepper.

  11. You weren’t kidding – that does look easy and the final product looks delicious. I’m sure I’ve tried this before, but I just can’t think where or when. Maybe I just saw it somewhere but never actually tried it because I was too scared by the look of it!

    I will make this! I need to get some sesame oil – oh, and some Korean chilli flakes… that might be a bit harder to find – but when I’ve got them I will make it because my father-in-law loves spicy stuff (he eats chilli paste like it’s butter… or rather, like it’s cheese, since he puts it so thickly on bread) and I’d like to see what he thinks of this!

    1. Thank you so much, Charles. It’s so easy… you cannot even imagine. Sesame oil might be tricky, but it’s not absolutely necessary (I am addicted to this oil though); you can use any chilli powder really (or whole dried chillies, ground at home). Beware and don’t buy sesame oil made in Europe… I bought one in my organic shop and it’s so awful I used some of it to oil hinges 😉 (I think they have made it from raw sesame seeds, while Asian sesame oil is made from toasted ones…).

      1. Oh, you know, I think I too have tried some “western” sesame oil before. I wouldn’t say it tasted bad, but definitely – the toasted flavour is what I love about sesame oil!

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