A step by step recipe guiding you to make Chinese spring onion oil (aka scallion oil) without fail. You will also learn how to use this versatile condiment in six ways.
In a typical Chinese kitchen, you can always find three indispensable herbs: spring onion (aka scallion or green onion), ginger and garlic. They are common ingredients yet give dishes so much aroma and flavour. Unlike ginger and garlic which can be kept at room temperature for quite a while, spring onion doesn’t last that long, even when kept in the fridge. That’s why a jar of homemade Chinese spring onion oil (葱油, aka scallion oil) comes in handy.
3 tips to ensure the desired result
The making of Chinese spring onion oil is pretty straightforward: just simmer spring onion in oil over medium-low heat, then cool and store. The traditional recipe usually calls for spring onion only. I like adding one more ingredient to the recipe: shallot or onion. This will enhance the fragrance and flavour of the finished oil. A few tips for helping you achieve the desired result:
- The lower the heat is, the longer will it take you to simmer. However, an extended process will extract more flavour from the shallot and spring onion, thus the oil will be more aromatic.
- It takes me 25 minutes or so to complete the simmering over medium-low heat. Do keep a close eye on it as you don’t want to over-fry the ingredients which might leave an unpleasant burnt flavour in the oil.
- To make this recipe even simpler, you may skip shallot/onion and only use spring onion. If you don’t wish to store up a big batch, please feel free to cook a small amount as required.
6 ways to use spring onion oil
Chinese spring onion oil can be used in many ways. It’s truly worth having it in your kitchen. Not only does it provide a unique aroma to dishes, but it will also save you lots of time in everyday meal preparation.
- For noodles. This seasoned oil is the star ingredient for the famous Shanghai Spring Onion Oil Noodles, a delectable dish that can be made in a few minutes. You can also add it to other noodle dishes, such as Dan Dan noodles, Chow Mein, etc.
- For stir-fried dishes. This will save you time buying, washing and chopping fresh spring onion. For example, use it (instead of cooking oil) to make fried rice, Chicken Chop Suey, etc.
- For salad. You can use it for all type of Chinese salad dishes, e.g. Cucumber Salad, to replace sesame oil.
- For steamed dish. It makes a brilliant addition to steamed fish thanks to its strong, infused flavour.
- For soup. Simply pour a few drops over a finished soup to add an extra zing. Try Hot and Sour Soup, Egg Drop Soup, etc.
- For bread. Use it to make Scallion Pancakes, Baked Scallion Bread, Spiced Beef Flatbread, etc.
How to make & use spring onion oil (葱油)
- 480 ml cooking oil (sunflower/rapeseed/vegetable, etc.) - 2 cups
- 150 g shallot or onion - 5.3oz
- 150 g spring onion - 5.3oz, about 15 stalks
- Peel shallot then thinly slice. Wash spring onion then dry thoroughly with kitchen towel/paper. Cut into long sections (separate the white part and the green part).
- Pour oil into a wok (or a deep frying pan). Heat over medium-low heat. Add shallots then leave to simmer until it becomes lightly brown. Turn off the heat (see note 1 & 2). Take out the shallot pieces with chopsticks.
- Turn the heat back on. Add the white part of the spring onion. Leave to simmer over medium-low heat until it wrinkles a bit. Add the green part of the spring onion. Turn off the heat when it turns brown (see note 1 & 2).
- Pour the oil into a sterilized, airtight jar. Store in the fridge and use it within a month. Use a clean spoon each time you use the oil.
A SIMPLE & FAST VERSION:
- You may use only spring onion and cook on a slightly higher heat thus the simmering time will be shorter. Make sure to observe closely during the process to avoid burning.
NUTRITION DISCLOSURE: Nutritional information on this website is provided as a courtesy to readers. It should be considered estimates. Please use your own brand nutritional values or your preferred nutrition calculator to double check against our estimates.
Last night I made a new batch of this. The last batch ran out but I love it! BTW in a cold fridge it lasts longer than your recipe suggests – but food safety first!
The bit I loved in your notes was that the onion and spring onion strained out of the oil could be used in a stir-fry. That’s exactly what I did tonight. They made a great addition to a Thai mixed vege stir-fry! I’m pan-Asian cuisine LOL!
Wei Guo says
It would be a shame to discard the fried onions. I can imagine how delicious your Thai mixed veggie stir-fry was!
Shapna Mazumder says
Thank you for this recipe. Can I make garlic oil in a similar way.
Wei Guo says
You could. Cut garlic cloves into thin slices. Fry until they become dry but not burnt. Remove the garlic and store the oil (you can use the fried garlic as a topping for noodles).
Having read the question about garlic oil … what sort of quantity of sliced garlic to 480ml oil? Or smaller quantity of oil?
Wei Guo says
I’d recommend you use 2 heads of garlic for 480ml of oil for a strong garlicky flavour.
Thanks for the info! I have the garlic (Chinese no less!) and the oil! I see a new jar appearing in my fridge this New Year weekend!