My mother Anna Lazic and I Natalia Lazic, created a chili oil recipe that had a unique recipe that will would appeal to the Canadian palate as well as ethnic Canadians accustomed to chili based cooking.
I grew up eating spicy food – chili peppers in almost everything I ate. Being Yugoslavian (Serbian), we have a natural taste for spicy foods. For the last two years, my mother and I have been making home-made chili oil that adds a hot, tasty flavour to our food. We created an oil based recipe fused with spices that could be stored in a container and conveniently used as a dip, drizzle, or added to dishes/recipes i.e. drizzled on vegetable or meat, used as a dip for bread or as a marinade and ingredient in things like stir fry or stew.
I first discovered the concept of chili oil at Chinese restaurants where it was served on the side. Chili oil is commonly used in Chinese cuisine as an ingredient in cooked dishes or as a condiment. In grocery stores however, we found only one brand sold at a grocery chain. It was made from canola oil and cayenne peppers. We found that it was very distasteful to our European-Canadian palate and it contained MSG.
With my mother’s help, we concocted our own chili oil made from a base of sunflower oil infused with different spices – the top three spices are dried red chili peppers, garlic and a mix of spices. Our combination of seven spices is unique when compared to the existing chili oil brands sold in Asian markets and restaurants etc. Our chili oil does not make foods taste like the Chinese cuisine or like any other spicy ethnic food: Our taste is more accepting to the Canadian palate looking for something spicy yet tasty. It does not contain MSG, a preservative many people do not want to consume!
We got initial feed back from many friends who have dined at my home have tried our oil like it so much they ask for a jar to take home. This kept happening so much my mother and I found ourselves in the kitchen every month bottling our Chili oil in small canning jars for friends. This lead us to think we could maybe start to share our “ Seven Spice “ with people outside of our circle which brings us to where we are now.
We consider our flagship recipe about a 7/10 on the heat scale. We are experimenting with a second “mildly spicy” version that will appeal to the other sector of people who prefer more of a 4-5/10 level of heat which we hope to have out soon!
We developed our name and brand around the number 7 as Seven Spice was originally made with 7 ingredients (sugar was part of a couple of the original Seven which now makes it 8 on the jar). 7 is also the number of completion which fit perfectly as anything we added always took away from the perfect taste of the original recipe.
Our goal is to get Seven Spice on everyone’s shelves and to make it a product used in everyone’s homes, and used with virtually every type of food and meal possible. We wanted to make it a flavor that shares the idea of Canadian culture and create something that used tastes from other cultures from around the world but repurpose as a Canadian flavor.