How I Learnt to Cook

3 Chilli Infusions That Make Tasty Meals Quick and Easy

When you buy chilli, think beyond just sprinkling it into the pan as you cook. You can also use your chilli to infuse a wide variety of ingredients and condiments to make adding a fiery kick to your meals even quicker and easier than before. Here are four chilli infusions that you can make at home to use whenever you like.

Chilli-Infused Oil

From making stir-fries to cooking bacon, oil is a kitchen staple used to cook numerous dishes every day. It's even used as a condiment, often found drizzled over salads or noodles. Instead of using standard olive oil or vegetable oil, why not kick those dishes up a notch by making your own infused chilli oil? All you need to do is add a cup of oil (your choice, but neutral oils work best) to a pot along with a few tablespoons of crushed chilli. Heat on medium-low for 5 minutes, leave to cool then pour it into a bottle. With just a few quick and easy steps, you'll have spicy oil to use in any recipe you like.

Chilli-Infused Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is one of the most versatile condiments in any kitchen pantry. It's used on sandwiches, in coleslaw and potato salad and as a dip for seafood, fritters and more. Despite that, it's also known for being rather bland. Thankfully, it's easy to spice up — just add chilli. Stir a few teaspoons of ground chilli into a cup of mayonnaise, or blend in some of your homemade chilli oil. You'll quickly find that your new concoction tastes great with dishes you never would've used mayo for before — like tacos, for example.

Chilli-Infused Alcohol

Are you a fan of cocktails like the margarita or piña colada? Even your favourites can start to feel a little boring over time, but that doesn't mean you have to learn all new recipes. Just substitute your usual liquor for a chilli-infused variant to add a new flavour. The best way to make chilli-infused alcohol is with fresh chillis. Choose your favourite heat level (jalapeños are on the milder side while habanero peppers are very hot), then pick three peppers and slice them in half. Drop them into your bottle of alcohol and make sure they sink, then screw the lid back on. Leave the peppers to steep for anywhere from two hours to several weeks until they reach your desired flavour level. For many people, a few days is the sweet spot. Then all you need to do is strain out the peppers and make your favourite cocktails as usual.