Do you ever have nights when the traditional salsa or hot sauce just doesn’t cut it? You need something with more depth, more flavor and more texture? What you need is chili crisp. “Chili crisp, or chili oil, is one of the most essential components of Chinese cuisine,” says author James Park, who shares his love of the versatile condiment in his new cookbook, Chili Crisp.

“One of many reasons I love chili crisp is that a dollop of it brings everything to life,” he notes of how you can cook with it or keep it on the table as a topping. Use the chili crisp in the mussels recipe for all of these dishes (you’ll have enough from one batch) or pick up a store-bought jar and taste the mouthwatering goodness tonight! Here’s three recipes featuring chili crisp, along with the recipe for how to make the ingredient it at home.

Pan Crusted Baked Salmon

(Serves 2)

2 tbsp. Kewpie mayo

1 1 ⁄2 tbsp. chili crisp*

1 1 ⁄2 tsp. oyster sauce

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 ⁄2 cup panko

1 ⁄4 cup chopped scallions

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil

1 lb. boneless salmon fillet, halved

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 ⁄4 tsp. pepper

2 tbsp. canola oil


1. Heat oven to 400°F. In a bowl, whisk mayo, chili crisp, oyster sauce and lemon zest. In another bowl, mix panko, scallion whites, garlic and sesame oil.

2. Pat salmon dry; season with salt and pepper and smother with mayo–chili crisp sauce. Sprinkle with seasoned panko and press down so it sticks.

3. In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium high, heat canola oil. Sear salmon, skin-side down, 3 to 4 min. Transfer skillet to oven; bake 5 to 7 minutes, or until it flakes and the thickest part is between 125°F and 130°F.

4. Serve immediately, garnished with scallion greens.

PER SERVING: 741 calories, 50 grams protein, 32 grams carbs, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams sugar, 48 grams fat.

Korean-Style Mapo Tofu

(serves 4)

1 lb. firm tofu, drained and cubed

2 tbsp. canola oil

4 scallions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp. minced ginger

1 lb. ground pork

1 onion, diced

2 tbsp. gochujang

2 tbsp. oyster sauce

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. gochugaru

1 ⁄3 cup chili crisp*

1 1 ⁄2 cups chicken broth

1 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. black vinegar

3 1 ⁄2 oz. dry wheat noodles, cooked


1. Season tofu. In a skillet over medium, fry in 1 tbsp. oil. Set aside.

2. Heat remaining oil. Set aside 1 tbsp. scallion greens; add remaining scallions, garlic, ginger; cook 1 minute. Add pork; season. Add onion; cook 3 minutes.

3. Mix next 5 ingredients. Add to pan; cook 3 minutes. Add broth. Boil, then simmer 5 minutes. Add tofu; cook 3 minutes.

4. Mix cornstarch with 1 tbsp. water. Stir into sauce, then add sesame oil and vinegar.

5. Divide noodles among bowls. Top with mapo tofu and reserved scallions.

PER SERVING: 653 calories, 50 grams protein, 50 grams carbs, 5 grams fiber, 13 grams sugar, 30 grams fat.

Steamed Mussels With Tomato Broth

(Serves 4)

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1 (28 oz.) can fireroasted diced tomatoes

1 cup white wine

1 ⁄3 cup chili crisp*

2 lbs. mussels, debearded


1. In a pot, melt butter over medium. Add onion, garlic; cook 4 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Add next 3 ingredients; cook 15 minutes. Add mussels, cover; cook 5 minutes. Serve.

PER SERVING: 477 calories, 32 grams protein, 29 grams carbs, 3 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 23 grams fat.

*For chili crisp:

1. In a pan, cook 1 cup canola oil, 1 tbsp. gochujang on very low 4 minutes. Add ¾ cup chopped scallions; cook 3 minutes. Add 6 minced garlic cloves; cook 6 minutes. In a heatproof bowl, mix 5⁄8 cup gochugaru, 2 tbsp. each sesame seeds and Aleppo pepper flakes, 1 tbsp. each sesame oil, chicken bouillon, brown sugar, black vinegar and salt, 1 tsp. ginger and 3 tbsp. soy sauce. Stir in infused oil. Heat 1 cup plain canola oil over high 3 minutes. Pour into bowl; let sit 5 minutes. Stir in ½ cup fried shallots. Let come to room temperature.