MELBOURNE | So somehow, despite being a chilli oil fiend and doing a pretty good job of keeping abreast of what’s going on in the world of food in this city, Ronin Chilli managed to pass me by, until I saw my friend Laura post about it recently.
Ronin Chilli was started by former video producer and content creator Danny Ronin during Melbourne’s lockdown 1.0. Danny grew up eating chilli oil and made his own as a side project for family and friends. A chance encounter at Australia Post and a spare jar led to a request for more, and within a few months Ronin Chilli become Danny’s full time job.
Danny teamed up with a food scientist and Alan Chong from Tian 38 to perfect the recipe, and that’s what you’ll find in the 190ml and 312ml jars on offer today.
The stuff is very addictive and hits all of the flavour elements. Fresh onions and garlic are fried in spring onion infused vegetable oil, which is then combined with star anise, cassia bark, peanuts, soy sauce, chilli, sesame, salt, ginger powder, Sichuan pepper, cumin, white pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and pepper.
The result is something quite brilliant. It’s not about being super spicy (it’s got heat of course but it’s not knock your socks off), but rather the balance between all flavour elements, and textural variation.
It goes with pretty much anything. The first time I tried it, when I took these photos, was on some Macedonian/Croatian sarma (here’s the sarma recipe). It’s not something that my grandmother ever put on her sarma, but I’m sure if she was still around she’d definitely approve.
It’s available online at Ronin’s website, with deliveries fulfilled every two weeks.