Okazu Miso Chili Oil Will Have You Smacking Your Lips

Chili oil condiments made with miso.
Chili oil condiments made with miso.

If you’re a fan of Chinese-style chili oil, then you will love Abokichi’s Okazu line, which puts a Japanese spin on that fermented condiment by adding miso to it.

Jess Mantell and Fumi Tsukamoto co-founded their Toronto company, Abokichi, to make gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, preservative-free sauces. They first started selling them at a farmers markets. They proved such a hit that they expanded to online and retail sales.

I had a chance to try samples of the three different varieties: Chili Miso, Spicy Chili Miso, and Curry Miso.

Okazu Chili Miso carries a good amount of heat with a big backbone of umami.
Okazu Chili Miso carries a good amount of heat with a big backbone of umami.

Miso paste, sesame oil, sunflower oil, tamari soy sauce, sugar, sesame seeds and a little chickpea flour form the basis of each of these umami-rich condiments.

The Chili Miso sports a medium level of heat, along with a hint of sweetness. The miso adds extra savory depth and a subtle fermented funkiness.

The Spicy Chili Miso is similar, but with a higher level of heat, whose warmth definitely lingers and lingers on the throat.

The Curry Miso is slightly less spicy than the Chili Miso, but has the added earthy, musky notes from yellow curry.

You can use the condiments just as you would Chinese chili oil — in stir-fries; to dip dumplings into; spooned over grilled or roasted vegetables, meats or seafood; drizzled over hot, cold or brothy noodles; or to dress up flatbreads.

Three flavors are available.
Three flavors are available.

I especially liked how the Curry Miso really jazzed up a simple dish of eggplant stir-fried with ground turkey.

The 8.45-ounce jars are about $12.99 each. They’re available on the Abokichi website, Amazon, and stores such as Berkeley Bowl.

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