Lao Gan Ma: The Legendary Chili Oil from China

by Theo Ponthieux

For those who like spicy Asian foods, there are typically only a few highly recommended items for adding heat to recipes. One of the top options for adding spice is Lao Gan Ma chili oil. While other brands are available now, many swear by the flavor and crunch this particular brand offers. In some cases, chili crisp lovers will not purchase anything besides Lao Gan Ma products.

Here's a deep dive into this versatile condiment, from its delightful flavor offerings to ways to use it throughout the week.

Fermented soybean chili oil

Introduction to Lao Gan Ma: The Icon of Chinese Chili Oils

There's a unique history behind Lao Gan Ma (old godmother in English). Even though it's a staple in many people's pantries, it's a relatively new condiment. It was invented in 1984 by Tao Huabi, a woman from a small town in China. After the passing of her husband, she created a noodle shop to help provide for her two kids. At this noodle shop, she served her special chili oil sauce. It quickly became a favorite condiment for those visiting her restaurant, and she decided to spread the delicious flavor to even more people by starting the Lao Gan Ma company in 1997. Since then, Lao Gan Ma chili oil has been considered the best of the best.

The Spicy Saga of Lao Gan Ma Chili Oil

Part of what makes Lao Gan Ma spicy chili crisp a top choice for many is its unique blend of spices and ingredients. It's made with soybean oil, chili, onion, soybeans, Sichuan pepper powder, salt, and sugar. This combination helps provide a complex taste that's spicy, slightly sweet, and uber-flavorful. This complex mixture of flavors and an authentic taste originally helped make this condiment popular.

Since the company's creation, additional flavors have been created, including chili oil with preserved black beans, hot chili sauce, and spicy chili crisp. Each offers a delightful heat and a unique blend of flavors to any dish you add them to.

Spicy chili oil

Lao Gan Ma Chili Crisp: A Crunchy Delight

Another key to the success of Lao Gan Ma chili crisp is the texture of the sauce. It's made with fried chili bits, fermented soybeans, onions, and garlic, creating a delicious infusion in the included oil. These fried chili pieces help add a crunchy texture to recipes, making them more exciting and fun to eat. These same ingredients help create its signature garlicky, oniony, salty, spicy, umami-rich flavor that makes the condiment utterly addicting.

Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp

Looking to add heat and texture to your dish at the same time? This spicy and crispy chili oil is the perfect blend of crunchy and tasty. Soybean oil, chili, onion, fermented soybeans, salt, sugar, and pepper combine to create a delicious umami flavor in dishes. This Lao Gan Ma oil is ideal for drizzling over dumplings, panfrying veggies, and even spicing up salads.

Common Allergens: Soy.

7.4 oz

Soy Beans and Soybean Oil: The Heart of Lao Gan Ma

Soybeans are a major part of Lao Gan Ma, as they help add a delicious umami taste to the recipe. Without the fermented soybeans, chili crisp wouldn't have as much of a savory flavor. Additionally, these soybeans help balance out the crunchy texture of the chili. They provide a somewhat creamy consistency to the chili oil.

As far as soybean oil, it provides the base for the condiment. It has quite a neutral flavor that allows the other ingredients to stand out. Since it has a mild taste, it's the perfect option for creating an infused spicy oil. These two ingredients, even though they vary quite a bit in taste, are some of the most important components in chili crisps' recipe.

Lao Gan Ma Chili Oil with Fermented Soybeans

Take your chili oil game to the next level with this delicious fermented soybean option! Soybean oil, fermented black soybeans, sugar, and salt combine for the ultimate bite of spicy, umami taste. This Lao Gan Ma chili sauce is ideal for rice or noodle dishes that need an extra hit of flavor.

Common Allergens: Soy.

9.9 oz

Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp: A Versatile Condiment

Lao Gan Ma is beloved because of its versatility. It's a spicy, crispy garlic sauce that you can add to nearly any dish, Asian or otherwise. You'll see many people use Lao Gan Ma sauces to add texture and flavor to dishes like dumplings, noodles, stir-fries, and more. It's so versatile that it can be used for all meals throughout the day.

You can add this spicy chili crisp to scrambled eggs during breakfast for a more flavorful dish. It's also delicious drizzled on top of congee or Chinese pancakes. This condiment is also delicious on rice dishes. You can turn regular fried rice into a delightfully spicy recipe by adding chili crisp. It's even tasty on top of salads, burgers, hot dogs, fries, and anywhere you would normally add hot sauce.

The Art of Making Savory Chili Oil: Lao Gan Ma's Secret

As mentioned, LaoGanMa became a popular condiment in China because of the traditional ingredients used to create the chili oil. Ingredients like crispy chili flakes, Sichuan pepper powder, and fermented soybeans are common in China; they're also the reason for the addictive savory taste of chili oil.

Lao Gan Ma stands out because it uses regional ingredients in its different recipes. Each type of savory chili oil (which includes dozens of options) caters to different individuals throughout China. Additionally, it's common for traditional Chinese condiments to be pleasing to multiple senses, which this spicy chili crisp easily accomplishes since it's fragrant, bright red, has a crunchy texture, and offers a bold, mouth-numbing taste.

Fried Garlic and Sichuan Pepper: Lao Gan Ma's Flavorful Twist

While the soybeans and crispy chili bits are the stars of the show flavorwise, they are balanced out by the fried garlic and Sichuan pepper powder. The fried garlic provides a bold, garlicky taste and slight sweetness to the recipe. As far as the Sichuan pepper powder, it helps create the mouth-tingling sensation common in Sichuan food. This ingredient offers an earthy, citrusy flavor, adding to the complex combinations of tastes in the other chili oil components. The result of including these two ingredients is the deliciously unique taste in each Lao Gan Ma chili crisp jar.

Lao Gan Ma Crunchy Hot Chili Sauce

Sure, you’ve tried chili oil, but trust us, this crunchy hot chili sauce is unlike anything your taste buds have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Rich and complex in flavor and texture, this condiment features san ding, aka the crunchy combination of peanuts, tofu pieces, and fermented turnip/rutabaga. It’s an addicting complement to a variety of dishes such as dumplings, fried rice, noodles, and veggies!

Common Allergens: Peanuts, Soy.

9.88 oz

Hot Chili Sauce Recipes with Lao Gan Ma

If you're still unsure how to use Lao Gan Ma in your weekly recipes, try it with the following dishes.

  1. Lao Gan Ma Zucchini Noodles

  2. This option is great if you want a healthier version/lower calorie version of spicy noodles. Instead of udon or soba noodles, you'll spiralize zucchini. Once the noodles are cut, they're tossed into a hot pan for a few minutes to help make a more noodle-like texture. This creates "noodles" that you can enjoy with a spicy chili crisp sauce. You can also make a spicy peanut sauce for the zucchini noodles by using ingredients like coconut sugar, peanut butter, chili crisp sauce, and soy sauce.

  3. Spicy Scrambled Eggs

  4. Start the day right with some bold scrambled eggs. Simply create scrambled eggs as you normally would, then top them with chili crisp oil. Before cooking, you can also mix the chili crisp directly into the scrambled eggs.

  5. Avocado Toast with Lao Gan Ma

  6. Another quick yet uber tasty recipe is avocado toast topped with Lao Gan Ma hot chili sauce. Toast a few pieces of bread, mash avocado with salt and pepper, and spread it on the toast. Then, drizzle as much chili oil sauce as you'd like on top of the avocado toast. You can mix the chili crisp directly into the mashed avocado like the scrambled eggs. Add sesame seeds for an extra crunch with this recipe.

  7. Fiery Chicken Wings

  8. Why not use chili crisp oil instead of making chicken wings with hot sauce? Simply toss the wings in savory chili oil, salt, and pepper. Then, cook them in the air fryer or oven until they're crispy outside and cooked through.

Lao Gan Ma: A Staple in Modern Asian Cooking

In recent years, Lao Gan Ma sauce has become a top choice for foodies in the US and younger generations of home cooks worldwide. The new flavors, which range in heat, have allowed more people to enjoy chili crisp. This new love for spicy chili crisp has led to some exciting recipes in modern Asian recipes. No longer is Lao Gan Ma only used in home cooking in China; it's now a staple in many American homes and continues to be an ingredient in a rising number of recipes, including fusion dishes that incorporate American and Asian flavors.

Lao gan ma chinese chili oil

Conclusion: Why Lao Gan Ma Continues to Reign Supreme

With its mouth-tingling sensation, complex flavors, crunchy texture, and versatile uses, it's no secret why Lao Gan Ma remains a favorite spicy condiment for many people. With the rise in popularity of fiery foods over the past few years, this chili crisp is the perfect solution for those wanting a delicious way to spice up their recipes.

You're in luck if you're ready to add this spicy chili oil to your recipes. It's now easier to find than ever at Bokksu Market. You'll find multiple flavors from the famous Lao Gan Ma brand here, including the following options. Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp is a fiery option perfect for a wide range of recipes, including as a dip for dumplings. Lao Gan Ma Crunchy Hot Chili Sauce is a fantastic choice for those who want an extra crunchy condiment, as it features peanut bits. There's also Lao Gan Ma Chili Oil with Fermented Soybeans, which has a deliciously complex, umami-rich flavor.

Whichever option you choose, know you'll be adding a burst of flavor to any recipe you use Lao Gan Ma with. Bokksu Market also has other pantry staples, like Kewpie, dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and more. Get creative in the kitchen with Bokksu Market's range of sauces, seasonings, snacks, sweet treats, and more!

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