As we move forward with modern cooking it’s not a question of if these new techniques can help, it’s more a question of how they can help. One classic technique that was time consuming was infusion. Something as simple as placing herbs, garlic, or chilis into oil can take a week tofully infuse. ingredients as common as vanilla extract can take up to 12 months to fully infuse the alcohol it is stored in. This forces us to purchase extremely expensive extracts, when they can be made at home for next to nothing. Time and kitchen real estate are what stand in the way of making all of our own infusions. As we learn more and more about how to speed up all manner of things around the kitchen, infusion has not been forgotten. Rapid infusion is a technique that allows any cook to infuse everything from oils to alcohol and everything in between. But how does it work, and how fast is it?
“How does rapid infusion work?”
Siphons Make it Simple?
Whipping siphons originally used for whipped cream are used for so many things. Rapid infusion is one of the best uses. Lets cover something simple like thyme infused oil. By placing the oil and thyme into the siphon, and charging it with N2O you can have a thyme infused oil within a couple of minutes. The reason rapid infusion works is the pressure from the N2O expands the cell walls and allows the liquid to flow easily through. The more liquid that can pass through these ingredients the more flavor you will get. This works extremely well with dry ingredients as these ingredients take long periods to hydrate then infuse. The ingredients in our chili oil recipe could take weeks to properly infuse, but with our recipe it takes just about 24 hours from start to finish. Making flavored alcohol can also be time consuming but with rapid infusion they can be ready in a minute or two. One of the more long term infusions we talked about was vanilla extract. Vanilla extract could take between 6-12 months for the flavor and color to be infused into the liquid (almost always vodka). With rapid infusion you can have vanilla extract in two weeks. The vanilla extract can be used earlier than the two weeks but we found at the 2 week mark the color was perfect. One thing that happens any time you place something in a whipping siphon is it will come out fizzy. The N2O (the same thing in nitro cold brew) does add a bit of effervescence but this will leave the liquid soo there after the infusion. We suggest allowing the liquid to sit for a few minutes before sealing if you don’t want the bubbles. So what are you going to infuse? Need some inspiration? check out the chili oil recipe below.
Give our Szechuan Chili Oil Powder recipe a try! One of our all time favorite dishes was at Chicago’s Lao Sze Chuan, a classic restaurant that serves up hella ma la and more. Their Famous Empress Crab with Dry Chili – Dungeness crab covered in mind- and mouth-numbing peppercorns – continues to beckon for a return visit. In the meantime, we’ve dreamt up our own Szechuan Chili Oil Powder, infusing the hot layered flavors of the peppercorns into a neutral oil and turning it into aromatic atomic snow. Sprinkle this bold orange powder lightly or liberally onto any dish to call to mind your favorite spicy plate.