Japanese Chilli and Garlic Oil with Sediments (Taberu rayu)

I don’t have the habit of praising factory-made sauces or condiments, but when I discovered taberu rayu, I have instantly fallen in love. This Japanese condiment is sold in tiny jars filled half with chili oil, half with a crunchy mixture of fried garlic, sesame seeds and chili and it goes well with almost every dish I tested (not only Japanese). Since me and my husband are both addicted to this rather expensive sauce, I thought I should try reproducing it at home. I had no idea what to start with, so I turned for help to Robert-Gilles, my blogging friend from Shizuoka (Shizuoka Gourmet). Robert-Gilles has already saved me from many culinary troubles (daikon leaves rice topping is one of the best examples) and here he was once more extremely kind, generous and helpful. In short, as if by magic, the taberu rayu recipe appeared the following day on his blog!

As Robert-Gilles has written here, 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, as I have mentioned above, a part of the condiment is solid. My Japanese grocers sell two types of taberu rayu: one contains dried garlic and the other both dried garlic and dried shrimp. Since I find the former version more versatile, I have left out the shrimp in this first experiment. The recipe proved quite easy (although I did burn the first batch of fried garlic…), rather quick and the result was surprisingly close to the “original” condiment. Home-made taberu rayu is hot and slightly sweet. It has a pleasant crunch due to the sesame seeds and garlic, combined with the stickiness of gochujang (Korean chili paste) and a wonderful bright red colour. Maybe because it lacks artificial after-taste, I find it even more addictive than the factory-made version. Thank you so much, Robert-Gilles, for this extraordinary recipe and for your kind help!

TIP: If you don’t find gochujang (Korean chili paste), you will find a recipe also on Shizuoka Gourmet blog. You can substitute it here with a bigger amount of chili flakes and a bit more sugar, but the texture will be different.

Preparation: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients (fills a 200 ml jar):

100 ml canola oil (or another oil with a neutral taste)

50 ml sesame oil

1 dried chili

3 thick slices of fresh ginger

10 cm piece of leek

2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)

2 heaped tablespoons Korean chili powder (or half of it if you don’t like very hot seasonings)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar (I used agave syrup)

2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

(about 2 tablespoons dried shrimps, chopped)

Fried garlic:

deep-frying oil

5 big garlic cloves, finely chopped (or roughly mixed in a food processor)

Fried onion:

deep-frying oil

1/2 onion,  finely chopped (or roughly mixed in a food processor)

First prepare fried onion and fried garlic.

Heat some oil in a small pan and when it’s 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. Drain the excess oil on paper towel and put aside.

Filter the oil and fry the onion in the same way. It will take more time (a couple of minutes). Drain the excess oil on paper towel and put aside.

In a metal bowl combine the sesame seeds, (the shrimp), the chili powder and 1 tablespoon sesame oil.

Pour the remaining sesame oil and canola oil into a pan. Add the ginger, the leek and one dried chili.

Fry at low heat for a couple of minutes.

Take out the vegetables and heat the oils until they start smoking.

At this point pour slowly, stirring, the hot oils into the sesame and chili paste.

Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, put into a jar and keep for one month at room temperature.



Thick and Crunchy Japanese Chili Sauce on Punk Domestics

60 Replies to “Japanese Chilli and Garlic Oil with Sediments (Taberu rayu)”

  1. This is my favorite condiment for everything I eat! .. except dessert and a few others 🙂
    Our stores carry some locally made ones, with and without dried shrimps and they’re relatively cheap. I doubt I’ll need to make any, at least until they ban it for some reason (preservatives?) and then I’ll definitely be calling to you for help!
    Yours look perfect!

    1. Thank you so much, Ping. I am happy we like both the same condiment. You are lucky to find it cheap!

        1. Thanks for the tip, Ping. I must try it one day this way too, especially now that it doesn’t cost me a fortune 😉

  2. Thinking about this is making me salivate! I’ve bought something similar from an Asian grocer (the Chinese version), quite nice but this fresh one would be a lot nicer. One of the nicer sauces I’ve had is in Central Asia. I guess it came from Northern China, really really addictive. Don’t remember the name but I always thought to make it. Thanks for the recipe

    1. Thank you so much, Mr. Three-Cookies. I have already tasted some non-Japanese similar condiment, but it wasn’t as good as taberu rayu (more preservatives and less sesame oil? or maybe no sesame oil? I don’t remember exactly, but the Japanese expensive jar is the only one i go hooked on.

  3. This is one of my favorites also. I do buy it in a jar but I can’t wait to try making my own. Thanks so much for sharing this, I love it and the taste of golden garlic just before it burns. Have a wonderful day.

  4. Ah, Sissi, this kind of sauce is right up my alley… I just love dipping spring rolls, pot stickers, sushi, eggs, and… you name it, into chili garlic sauce. I love that you dedicated a post on how to make our own and I have to say that your photo is really stunning – a fiery, gorgeous representation of this highly addictive sauce indeed…It’s only 8 am here and yet… :).

    1. Thank you, Kelly, for the compliments. I really think this sauce was beautiful (I think the red was brighter than in the one I used to buy!) and I was really proud and surprised with the result. I also like dipping everything in this sauce and also find it delicious on rice.

  5. Oh Sissi, this is my husband’s absolute favorite condiment! Well ours might be a bit different, since every brand of this chili taste a little different, so I assume they all use their own secret ingredients. Normally these are used the most when we go eat dim sum, he would mix a big bowl of the chili, soy sauce and sriracha sauce for more heat. Yummm!

    1. Hi, Jeno! It seems like everyone loves this condiment. I think especially the crunchiness and in general the difference of textures make this sauce so irresistible. I also sometimes mix it with very hot chili sauce or paste to make it even hotter.

    1. Thank you so much, Sportsglutton. I will also try making gochujang on my own one day. This experiment has emboldened me to try even more incredible things I’m used to buy.

  6. Thats going to be useful! Japanese chilly sauce from scratch, yumm. Just earlier I was making some pasta and I was working with red chillis and I had an inspirationnal light hover over my head. Time I get working on that.
    thanks for the info and recipe Sissi!

    btw. How was your weekend? =)

    1. Thank you so much, Helene. It is very very useful! It goes with every type of food and I bet it would be perfect with Italian pasta. I’ve had quite a busy weekend and you? I hope the works are already finished and you have the house only to yourselves.

  7. Your blog becomes ever better and the photos ever more beautiful, Sissi, it’s impressive. Keep up the good work! Have you ever come across the books of Harumi? I’m sure you have, I’d say you’re spiritual sisters – rendering excellent (Asian) food accessible. Thanks!

    1. Hi, Ullrich. Thank you for so many compliments! I am honoured you see some improvement because I am often very unhappy with both my texts and photos. I know Harumi! I have only one of her books, but I really like it (I have posted only one of her recipes: a tofu and aubergine gratin with parmesan, it was delicious). Thank you once more for this kind comment. It means a lot to me.

    1. Thank you so much, A_Boleyn. This is what I hoped to do. Now I can indulge in it with no limits.

  8. How interesting! I think I’ve tried it in a Japanese restaurant once, but never came across it again, would be interesting to make it, though I’m not sure Korean chilli powder are very easy to find.

    1. Thank you so much, Gourmantine. Korean chili powder might be difficult to get if you don’t have access to a Korean or Japanese grocery, but I’m sure it can be made with any chili powder.

  9. Hi, Sissi, I’ve never tasted or even heard of this sauce, but from the list of ingredients, it looks delicious!

  10. I absolutely love this condiment! I usually buy Lao Gan Ma brand range of chilli sauce/oil and it’s delicious! I can just eat rice with just that! I haven’t tried taberu rayu so I don’t really know which would be better but one thing I know for sure is that yours looks so delicious!

    1. Hi, Sylvia. Thank you. I have never tasted this brand I think. The Japanese one was very expensive though. I also love it with rice, like you.

        1. Hi Sylvia, thanks a lot for the link. The range is really huge! Chinese products are cheap here too, but the Japanese usually cost at least twice as much.

  11. Dear Sissi!
    The old dragon is blushing under his scales!
    I will have to find an alias! LOL
    Beautiful picture! You are certainly making a lot of people happy!
    Best regards,

    1. Thank you, Robert-Gilles. I am very happy you like the photo. Pity you cannot taste my experiment 😉
      Thank you once more for your help and kindness.

  12. Sissi, Why oh why do you always make such delicious sounding recipes and then give me a challenge. Now…I’m not really complaining. It just means I’m going to have to travel somewhere that has all the ethnic markets that I don’t have in New Hampshire. One day I’ll do a travel post inspired by trying to find all the ingredients in your recipes.

    1. Thank you, Karen, for the compliments! Maybe you could order online? That is if you are really curious about the Japanese or Korean food. I know there are US online shops (although I don’t know the names).

  13. planning to make shizuoka gourmet’s gochujang soon, and once i get that ready, i’ll proabbly give this rayu a go!

  14. Sissi, 食べるラー油!!!! This was #1 hit product in Japan in 2009 and I think the word itself was the most used word in 2009 or something like that. Japan went crazy with the product. I didn’t know this was originally from Okinawa. I’m not familiar with Okinawan food but I heard it’s quite different from mainland. I can’t believe you can get this at your Japanese supermarket. I can already tell you your supermarket is pretty good one if they import this from Japan. Some store that I go didn’t even carry this when I went looking back then. A lot of my friends brought back from Japan too. Thanks Robert-Gilles for making the recipe. It’s awesome. I’m going to pass this link to some of my friends too.. =)

    1. Hi, Nami, yes, I used to buy it in my Japanese grocery, but I no longer do. Taberu rayu you see on the above photo is not from my grocery, but from my cuisine 😉 And given the price and the taste, I will carry on making it on my own. Robert-Gilles is very kind, isn’t he?

  15. I like hot condiments and this is a perfect recipe to make. It should keep for a long time, right? Does it have to be refrigerated? This makes me want to fry fish, grill pork, stir fry some veggies. Thank you, Sissi! This is such a good post. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Ray. It doesn’t have to be refrigerated apparently and keeps for a months in a closed jar, but I cannot confirm it because we finished it last week, so just in a couple of days 😉 I think it would go great with the marinated pork you have just posted about…

  16. Oh, how fun – I remember your conversation on RG’s blog. Did you find this just as addictive as the stuff you’d bought? I’m trying to think if I’ve had this before, but just can’t place it in my mind. It sounds delicious – all that flavour, and just look at that colour too!

    What do you eat it with? I guess maybe spread on some meats and so forth?

    1. Thank you so much, Charles. I have it with meat, rice, noodles, salads… everything. It’s really an exceptional condiment. You should try it.

  17. That sauce does sound like it would be very versatile and great that you recommend it for dishes that are not only Japanese. It looks very colourful and the ingredients are favourites of mine.

  18. Just by looking at this beautiful chili sauce, I know that I am going to love it!! I got to know a very similar Chinese chili oil with crispy chili flakes,etc a few years ago and this sauce has been my best friend since then especially when eating noodle soups or dumplings :). I will surely give this recipe a shot, or when I am too lazy, I’ll try to have a look in my local Asian grocery store and hope to find a bottle of Taberu rayu there :).

    1. Thank you so much, CG. I haven’t tasted the Chinese version, but I’m sure it’s much much cheaper than the Japanese.

        1. Hi, Rups. I have no idea. I haven’t even tasted the store-bought Chinese sauce and have no recipe. I keep on making this Japanese version and still enjoy it as much as the first time (now I prepare it in one liter jars!). Do you mean you have prepared this particular Taberu Rayu recipe? I’m very glad you liked it!

  19. I’ve never heard of this sauce but I love the fact that you made it yourself at home. Looks like it would be a perfect sauce for Chinese whole steamed fish – I’ve been looking for a sauce recipe that would be perfect for this, and here you have it! Will have to try it.

    1. Thanks, Martyna. I hope you can make it. I haven’t had it with fish yet, but I’m sure it goes practically with anything.

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