Cookbooks We Love

January 18, 2024

Jing Gao Brings the Heat with Her Signature Sichuan Chili Crisp

In the intro to Jing Gao’s Cookbook, The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp, she describes the condiment she grew up eating in Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province, as a sweet, fiery, crunchy, spicy and flavorful oil. Made from a mixture of spices such as star anise and ginger, as well as ground roasted Sichuan pepper and preserved black beans for texture and bold flavor, chili crisp is a staple of the region’s cuisine. Today, you can add chili crisp to everything from pizza to dumplings, and there are thousands of variations on the chilis, oils and spices used, reflecting different family recipes and regions. Jing’s version is a twist on her family recipe, which became so popular with her friends that, in 2018, she began bottling and selling it. This led to an online food shop, Fly by Jing, where she has sold two million jars of chili crisp to date, and her cookbook, where she shares the recipe so you can make your own.

Along with Jing’s Sichuan Chili Crisp, we’re showcasing four of her most flavor-packed recipes from the book. Try the Mapo Tofu, which she says has such a vibrant complexity of flavors that she’s seen it evoke tears, the addictive Dan Dan Noodles, and Red-braised Pork Belly, a melt-in-your mouth dish that combines chili crisp with pork belly, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar to create something truly special. Looking for Sichuan flavors without the spicy condiment? Don’t miss Jing’s Kungpao Shrimp; the sweet and sour sauce has spice built right in, set off with the nutty crunch of cashews or peanuts. For those who love heat, these recipes will make your entertaining memorable.

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Author: Alexandra Whyte

Yudi Ela Echevarria


Recipes from The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp by Jing Gao. ©2023 Jing Gao. Photography by Yudi Ela Echevarria and Robert Nilsson. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved