Food & Drink


Excerpted from Leanne Brown’s Good and Cheap

Use this spice oil on salads, in cold noodle dishes, or on roasted or sautéed vegetables. You can get all of the spices at most Asian grocery stores.

Spice Oil

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 cup


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chile flakes or chopped dried red chiles
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan or regular peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt



Use the side of a knife to crush the garlic clove, and peel it when it cracks open.


Place the crushed garlic in a small pot and add the olive oil, chile flakes, peppercorns, star anise, cumin seeds, and salt. Warm the mixture over low heat, until it starts to bubble gently and you can hear a bit of a sizzle, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. You don’t want it to be so hot that the spices start to cook or fry.


Put the covered pot in the fridge for 4 to 8 hours.


Taste the oil. If it isn’t strongly spicy, let it infuse for a few more hours. Once it’s ready, strain the oil through a sieve to remove the spices. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.


If you don't have a sieve, place a lid over the pot and carefully pour the oil out sideways to strain it. Allow a small opening between the lid and the pot so the oil can escape while the spices are left behind.

About the Book:

By showing that kitchen skill, and not budget, is the key to great food, Good and Cheap will help you eat well—really well—on the strictest of budgets.

Created for people who have to watch every dollar—but particularly those living on the U.S. food stamp allotment of $4.00 a day—Good and Cheap is a cookbook filled with delicious, healthful recipes backed by ideas that will make everyone who uses it a better cook. From Spicy Pulled Pork to Barley Risotto with Peas, and from Chorizo and White Bean Ragù to Vegetable Jambalaya, the more than 100 recipes maximize every ingredient and teach economical cooking methods. There are recipes for breakfasts, soups and salads, lunches, snacks, big batch meals—and even desserts, like crispy, gooey Caramelized Bananas. Plus there are tips on shopping smartly and the minimal equipment needed to cook successfully.

And when you buy one, we give one!  With every copy of Good and Cheap purchased, the publisher will donate a free copy to a person or family in need. Donated books will be distributed through food charities, nonprofits, and other organizations. You can feel proud that your purchase of this book supports the people who need it most, giving them the tools to make healthy and delicious food.

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