This chili sauce even tastes great on chocolate ice cream

This recipe sounds delicious!!!  Thanks for sharing!!!
I keep chilis in a oilve oil spray bottle to spice up dishes.

I think the people here are blowing the botulism issue WAY out of proportion, IMHO. Garlic chili oil is used all over Asia and it often isn’t refrigerated. I can’t count the number of oil salad dressings that have minced garlic in them. They sell large jars of peeled garlic cloves in olive oil all over italy, never once heard of anyone having an issue. They sell them here in canada too. I think the SAFETY POLICE are taking their jobs way to seriously…you are more likely to fatally wound yourself on the glass jar then to get botulism from garlic in oil.

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I’ve been making a basic version of this chili sauce with the same six base ingredients (and a tiny bit of star anise and a pinch of smoked paprika) for a while, and it’s delicious.

Really, just wanted to post this video of how to peel large/r quantities of garlic REAL quick. It’s a game changer if you work on a larger scale, or just need a lot of peeled garlic and don’t have a lot of time. It WORKS.


What a delicious-sounding recipe. I also love the video on how to peel tons of garlic.

As regards the botulism risk: I believe that it is difficult to outright kill botulism in the kitchen, especially without a pressure cooker. Frying at temperature X (where X is greater than water’s boiling point) does not raise the temperature of all of your food to temperature X until the food has completely dried out. A piece of food being fried will be at around the boiling point of water until it dries out.
To those quoting cooking at ~121°C (250 °F) for 3 mins - that is under autoclave or canning pressures, which are not obtainable in a normal pressure cooker. In a pressure cooker, you will need to cook for longer. I cannot find the links from my last round of searching, but you have to cook it at max cooker pressure for a while. If you google around, most botulism cases are from home-prepared food and canning is particularly mentioned - so this happens when people are already trying to mitigate the risk of botulism, but get it wrong.

A recipe, from Moderniste Cuisine, makes specific reference to safety margins and cooks its garlic-in-oil at 15psi for 2 hours. Please Google modernistcuisine garlic confit for the recipe (I have just joined and have a link-limit on this post).

I am no food-safety nut. I trim moldy bits from hard cheese, veg etc and happily eat raw eggs, for example in a mousse. However, this seems to be a clearly identified risk, whereby cooking garlic in oil and then storing it for a long period of time (even in the fridge, though it will take longer) is an excellent way of growing botulism if your recipe is not sufficiently acidic. “Of 405 botulism events in the USA between 1950 and 2005, 92% were linked to home-processed foods.” source:

See also:

The general advice seems to be: if you are not making it acidic, then make it in small quantities and keep it in the fridge for no more than a few days. The same is true of any food that has come into the contact with soil and is then stored for a significant period of time in anaerobic conditions (i.e. under oil), for it is the absence of oxygen that encourages botulism to grow.

@maggiek - as a side note, an article on sporulation and/or biofilms could make for an interesting read.

You are right to point out that it is sold commercially - presumably prepared for sufficient time at the proper high temperature and pressure. Such garlic-in-oil is perfectly safe. The jars that you’ve seen in Canada & Italy will have been prepared this way.
Salad dressings are typically acidic, which suppresses botulism.

I cannot really comment on garlic chilli oils seen in Asia. The risk is the same, my comments the same. Saying “well I haven’t heard of any cases of botulism from this” is not much different to saying “my gran smoked 30-a-day and lived to the ripe old age of 95”: anecdotal. Besides: no-one is saying that you should not make & eat this stuff, just that you have to be careful. Don’t make too much, eat it quickly. Nom.

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Botulism doesn’ t kill many people because death is due to paralysis of the muscles for breathing, so putting someone on a ventilator allows them to recover. Food contaminated with salmonella, E. coli, listeria, shigella, campylobactoer, hepatitis kill hundreds or thousand of people every year.

Trying to cook chili on the stovetop can be tricky, and even a little scorching ruins the flavor. Rather than mess with all that, now I just put it in the oven. It does not scorch and it can be left in for a long time to let the flavors really develop.


“Everything can kill you, so take no precautions”

With all due respect, the square root of diddly-squat in this case, this is really stupid advice.

Eat from bulging cans? Not a problem because those nervous nanny-state nellies say everything can kill you
The meat has turned blue and fuzzy and the dog rolls in it instead of eating it? Just throw ketchup on the sumbich.
Undercooked chicken? Go for it.
The top has popped off the jam and it’s got this unusual winy smell? Get out the spoon!

I’ve had salmonella, listeriosis, e. coli poisoning, another unidentified food-spoilage disease that left me hallucinating and vomiting with a fever of 103 for days and a bad batch of pickled herring that had me painting the wall from five feet away with projectile vomitus. You don’t know what the bright green heck you’re talking about. I hope your ignorance doesn’t get you or, gods forbid, an innocent person under your care killed

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You are correct. This is a near-perfect medium for growing botulism.
If you want to keep this for extended periods pressure can it. Otherwise make smaller batches and keep it in the fridge.

If you’re in the US call your Agricultural Extension Agent. They have safe lab-tested recipes for just about any kind of preserved food you would want from chutney to chayote. The FDA and USDA guidelines are where Modernist Cuisine got their guidelines from in the first place

You sure that fever has passed? You seem to be under some serious delusions about what I actually wrote.

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I just want to say “thank you” to all the people in this thread who backed up my position instead of flaming me (it’s easy to flame the “fun police” guy). When my e-mail told me that there were so many replies, I thought to myself “oh, here we go - the fun-police-police are here in force,” but I was pleasantly surprised.

The “nanny state” trend is dumb, and of course people should eat what they want to eat. I eat “undercooked” eggs several times a week, for instance. But I do it because I understand the risks of doing so, and I feel the deliciousness of runny eggs, or medium rare burgers, or steak tartare, or what have you outweigh the risks of consuming said items. However, botulism is something I would never want to mess around with, because in that case the risk outweighs the reward in my opinion. And being informed about the risks, and thus choosing whether or not to take them, is pretty important. I don’t think the author intentionally posted a botulism-risky recipe, but given the information, I think it’s pretty important to discuss the risks so that the reader can decide whether or not to take them.

To answer some of the questions posed, botulism bacteria cannot flourish at a pH below 4.5. That is a pretty mellow requirement, but most oil does not satisfy it (hence the issue with garlic-in-oil). It is also difficult to acidify oil without industrial processes and chemicals. If you were to use pickled garlic (a personal favorite of mine) then perhaps the risk would be smaller.

Obviously (by anecdotal evidence given by the surviving author) following this recipe is not a sure-fire ticket to botulism-ville. But, I still think it’s important to raise the red flag about the risk, and that’s why I posted my original response. I never want to be the “nanny-ville” food police, but I do want people to educate themselves about food safety risks so that they can decide for themselves which risks they want to take - and a lot of people who read this recipe might not be aware of the risks that garlic-in-oil can present. So I want to thank the people who backed me up, because all too often a thread like this can devolve into bashing and eye-rolling at the guy who killed the buzz (even if just to present an important counterpoint).

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If I’m honest, it’s the first I’ve ever heard of garlic as a vector for botulism.

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[quote=“tomrstrickland, post:26, topic:34754”]The jars that you’ve seen in Canada & Italy will have been prepared this way.
Salad dressings are typically acidic, which suppresses botulism.[/quote]

In addition, Garlic in oil sold commercially in Canada will generally not be just garlic in oil, but also contain some preservatives —typically salt and/or acid — to reduce the chance of botulism. (Health Canada has a handout on it — warning: PDF link — that mentions that commercial garlic in oil was linked to at least two notable botulism outbreaks in North America in the 1980s, after which manufacturers made changes to their production methods in order to reduce the risk.)

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This “sauce” is pretty much Chinese chilli oil isn’t it? I’ve made it a few times but frankly, it’s pretty cheap in oriental shops so mostly I just buy it. It is, as you say though, lush beyond although I can’t imagine combining garlicky oil with chocolate ice-cream could be anything other than hideous, sorry.

Eh, garnish it with more mint leaves. I mean, fudge ice cream’s pretty oily, but if your ice cream’s livid with peaches, it could steer it over into the sweet spot again. Looking forward to the Tiger Mom ice cream recipes…heh heh.

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