Homemade Hunan Salted Chilies (Duo Jiao – 剁椒)

Hunan salted chilies or “duo jiao” is a signature Hunan ingredient. Salty, spicy, and slightly tangy from natural fermentation, Hunan chopped chili peppers are especially delicious in steamed dishes like our Duo Jiao Steamed Fish. We have a version using fish filets as well as a Hunan Steamed Whole Fish.  Hunan salted chili peppers are also delicious in stir-fried dishes like our family favorite, Salted Chili & Chinese Chives with Eggs. If you’re vegan, don’t fret! You can also try Kaitlin’s steamed tofu and oyster mushrooms, which is arguably the most delicious recipe of them all! A Staple hunan ingredient Hunan salted chili peppers are better known in Chinese as duò jiāo (剁椒) which literally translates to chopped (duò) chili peppers (jiāo). For more information about this ingredient, check out our Duo Jiao Ingredients Glossary article. Originating in Hunan Province, where dishes can be even spicier than those from Sichuan province, duo jiao is made by chopping red chilies and pickling them in a brine solution. You can find ready-made jars of Hunan salted chilies in well-stocked Chinese grocery stores, but using fresh chili peppers to make your own homemade duo jiao is really quite easy.  It’s also a great way to preserve your home-grown red chili peppers and enjoy them all winter long. Are Hunan Salted Chilies Fermented? Duo jiao is fermented using lactic acid fermentation, similar to how Korean kimchi is made.  Left unrefrigerated for a few days in the jar, lactic acid fermenting bacteria produce the slightly tangy flavor and signature taste of the Hunan duo jiao. How to Make Hunan Salted Chilies The first step to making a good duo jiao is selecting fresh red chili peppers with a medium heat. Just about any medium spicy red chili pepper can be used, though we recommend red Anaheim chilies, as we’ve grown them ourselves and found them to be a great option.  That said, red jalapeño peppers, fresno chilies, or even red cherry peppers both work just fine. If you’re daring and love spicy food, you can even try adding some Thai red chili peppers for that extra kick. (Though we would not recommend making this recipe entirely with Thai chilies, as it would be way too spicy!) Some versions of duo jiao call for adding chopped ginger and garlic, but I like to keep a pure Hunan red pepper taste. I also prefer the flexibility of adding fresh ginger and garlic as needed to the final dish. Last but not least is the question of whether to de-seed your red peppers or chop them whole with the veins and seeds.  In China, most versions I have seen are made with the seeds and all (everything except for the stem).  Our recipe calls for deseeding the peppers to keep the heat to a manageable level but the choice is yours! Recipe Instructions Wash your peppers thoroughly. Let them dry in a colander or wipe them with a clean kitchen towel. Remove the stems, seeds, and veins of the peppers. If you want your duo jiao to be very spicy, you can skip this step and chop the entire pepper minus the stems (tread carefully!).  We chose to deseed and remove the veins of our peppers because our garden produced extra-hot peppers this season! You may also want to use food-grade gloves if your skin is sensitive. Do not touch your face or eyes after chopping the peppers! KEY TIP! Make sure your jar, bowl, cutting board and utensils are disinfected and clean. There is nothing worse than finding mold in your jar of Hunan salted chilis after all that hard work and waiting. Use a sharp cleaver or knife to chop the peppers like you would for a relish—it should be a rough chop, not a fine mince. Transfer the peppers to a clean bowl. Add the salt, sugar and clear rice wine. Avoid using Shaoxing wine, which has a stronger flavor than the recommended clear rice wine. We want the flavor of the peppers to shine here. Mix everything thoroughly, and cover the bowl with a clean overturned plate. Let the chopped peppers sit in the brine for 1 hour. Next, transfer the peppers to a medium sized canning jar. There should be a ½ inch of room at the top of the jar for liquid to come out of the peppers during the fermentation period. Fold a piece of plastic wrap into a square (4 layers) to fit over the jar, and press the plastic into the jar to eliminate as much air as possible between the plastic and the brined peppers. Seal the jar and leave in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. We put our jar on the counter under a cabinet tucked away next to our sugar and flour jars. After fermenting the Hunan chopped peppers for 2 weeks at room temperature, refrigerate. At this point, they should be ready to eat but they will keep in the refrigerator for months as long as you use clean utensils when scooping out the peppers to use.  IMPORTANT NOTE! If you notice any mold, cloudiness, foam, or unusual colors or odors forming in the jar, discard immediately! Enjoy! Dinnerware! If you like the bowl we used in this post

Homemade Hunan Salted Chilies (Duo Jiao – 剁椒)

Hunan salted chilies or “duo jiao” is a signature Hunan ingredient.

Salty, spicy, and slightly tangy from natural fermentation, Hunan chopped chili peppers are especially delicious in steamed dishes like our Duo Jiao Steamed Fish. We have a version using fish filets as well as a Hunan Steamed Whole Fish. 

Steamed Tilapia: Hunan-Style Whole Fish, by thewoksoflife.com

Hunan salted chili peppers are also delicious in stir-fried dishes like our family favorite, Salted Chili & Chinese Chives with Eggs.

If you’re vegan, don’t fret! You can also try Kaitlin’s steamed tofu and oyster mushrooms, which is arguably the most delicious recipe of them all!

Steamed Tofu with Salted Chilies

A Staple hunan ingredient

Hunan salted chili peppers are better known in Chinese as duò jiāo (剁椒) which literally translates to chopped (duò) chili peppers (jiāo). For more information about this ingredient, check out our Duo Jiao Ingredients Glossary article.

Originating in Hunan Province, where dishes can be even spicier than those from Sichuan province, duo jiao is made by chopping red chilies and pickling them in a brine solution.

You can find ready-made jars of Hunan salted chilies in well-stocked Chinese grocery stores, but using fresh chili peppers to make your own homemade duo jiao is really quite easy. 

Duo Jiao Salted Chili Peppers, thewoksoflife.com

It’s also a great way to preserve your home-grown red chili peppers and enjoy them all winter long.

Are Hunan Salted Chilies Fermented?

Duo jiao is fermented using lactic acid fermentation, similar to how Korean kimchi is made. 

Left unrefrigerated for a few days in the jar, lactic acid fermenting bacteria produce the slightly tangy flavor and signature taste of the Hunan duo jiao.

How to Make Hunan Salted Chilies

The first step to making a good duo jiao is selecting fresh red chili peppers with a medium heat. Just about any medium spicy red chili pepper can be used, though we recommend red Anaheim chilies, as we’ve grown them ourselves and found them to be a great option. 

That said, red jalapeño peppers, fresno chilies, or even red cherry peppers both work just fine. If you’re daring and love spicy food, you can even try adding some Thai red chili peppers for that extra kick. (Though we would not recommend making this recipe entirely with Thai chilies, as it would be way too spicy!)

Some versions of duo jiao call for adding chopped ginger and garlic, but I like to keep a pure Hunan red pepper taste. I also prefer the flexibility of adding fresh ginger and garlic as needed to the final dish.

Last but not least is the question of whether to de-seed your red peppers or chop them whole with the veins and seeds. 

In China, most versions I have seen are made with the seeds and all (everything except for the stem). 

Our recipe calls for deseeding the peppers to keep the heat to a manageable level but the choice is yours!

Recipe Instructions

Wash your peppers thoroughly. Let them dry in a colander or wipe them with a clean kitchen towel.

Remove the stems, seeds, and veins of the peppers. If you want your duo jiao to be very spicy, you can skip this step and chop the entire pepper minus the stems (tread carefully!). 

Red cherry and jalapeno peppers with seeds and stems removed

We chose to deseed and remove the veins of our peppers because our garden produced extra-hot peppers this season!

You may also want to use food-grade gloves if your skin is sensitive. Do not touch your face or eyes after chopping the peppers!

KEY TIP!

Make sure your jar, bowl, cutting board and utensils are disinfected and clean. There is nothing worse than finding mold in your jar of Hunan salted chilis after all that hard work and waiting.

Use a sharp cleaver or knife to chop the peppers like you would for a relish—it should be a rough chop, not a fine mince.

Chopped red chilies on cutting board

Transfer the peppers to a clean bowl.

Add the salt, sugar and clear rice wine. Avoid using Shaoxing wine, which has a stronger flavor than the recommended clear rice wine. We want the flavor of the peppers to shine here.

Mixing chopped chilies with salt, sugar, and rice wine

Mix everything thoroughly, and cover the bowl with a clean overturned plate. Let the chopped peppers sit in the brine for 1 hour.

Next, transfer the peppers to a medium sized canning jar. There should be a ½ inch of room at the top of the jar for liquid to come out of the peppers during the fermentation period.

Fold a piece of plastic wrap into a square (4 layers) to fit over the jar, and press the plastic into the jar to eliminate as much air as possible between the plastic and the brined peppers.

Seal the jar and leave in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. We put our jar on the counter under a cabinet tucked away next to our sugar and flour jars.

After fermenting the Hunan chopped peppers for 2 weeks at room temperature, refrigerate. At this point, they should be ready to eat but they will keep in the refrigerator for months as long as you use clean utensils when scooping out the peppers to use. 

IMPORTANT NOTE!

If you notice any mold, cloudiness, foam, or unusual colors or odors forming in the jar, discard immediately!

Homemade Hunan Salted Chilies or Duo Jiao

Enjoy!

Dinnerware!

If you like the bowl we used in this post, check out Musubi Kiln, a company that sources traditional handcrafted tableware from Japanese artisans. Here’s the link to the bowl itself.

For 5% off your purchase, use coupon code: THEWOKSOFLIFE


Homemade Hunan Salted Chilies (Duo Jiao – 剁椒)

Hunan salted chilies or “duo jiao” is a signature Hunan Chinese staple. Find out how to make it at home with just four ingredients!

Homemade Hunan Salted Chilies Duo Jiao

serves: 16

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Wash your peppers thoroughly. Let them dry in a colander or wipe them with a clean kitchen towel.

  • Remove the stems, seeds, and veins of the peppers. If you want your duo jiao to be very spicy, you can skip this step and chop the entire pepper minus the stems (tread carefully!).

  • Use a sharp cleaver or knife to chop the peppers like you would for a relish—it should be a rough chop, not a fine mince. Transfer the peppers to a clean bowl.

  • Add the salt, sugar and clear rice wine. Mix everything thoroughly, and cover the bowl with a clean overturned plate. Let the chopped peppers sit in the brine for 1 hour.

  • Next, transfer the peppers to a medium sized canning jar. There should be a ½ inch of room at the top of the jar for liquid to come out of the peppers during the fermentation period.

  • Fold a piece of plastic wrap into a square (4 layers) to fit over the jar, and press the plastic into the jar to eliminate as much air as possible between the plastic and the brined peppers.

  • Seal the jar and leave in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. After fermenting the Hunan chopped peppers for 2 weeks at room temperature, refrigerate. At this point, they should be ready to eat but they will keep in the refrigerator for months as long as you use clean utensils when scooping out the peppers to use.

Tips & Notes:

Make sure your jar, bowl, cutting board and utensils are disinfected and clean to prevent contamination. You may also want to use food-grade gloves when preparing this recipe if your skin is sensitive. Do not touch your face or eyes after chopping the peppers!  

nutrition facts

Calories: 16kcal (1%) Carbohydrates: 3g (1%) Protein: 1g (2%) Fat: 1g (2%) Saturated Fat: 1g (5%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 1164mg (49%) Potassium: 80mg (2%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 2g (2%) Vitamin A: 344IU (7%) Vitamin C: 38mg (46%) Calcium: 5mg (1%) Iron: 1mg (6%)