Duo jiao is a special ingredient in Hunan cooking. It’s made from fresh red chili peppers. These peppers are washed, dried, and cut into small pieces. Then, they’re mixed with salt. The salt not only makes them taste better but also helps get rid of extra moisture from the peppers.

After the peppers are covered in salt, they go into a clean jar or container. They sit there for about a week, and during this time, the salt pulls the moisture out of the peppers. This creates a salty liquid called brine, which acts as a natural preservative. This brine gives duo jiao its unique flavor.

Hunan salted chilies, also called “duo jiao,” are a bit salty, spicy, and a little tangy because of the natural fermentation process. They work really well in different dishes, especially steamed ones like our Duo Jiao Steamed Fish, which can be made with fish fillets or whole fish. They also add a great taste to stir-fried dishes like our popular Salted Chili & Chinese Chives with Eggs.

The Origins and Background of the Recipe

The duo jiao recipe has its origins in the Sichuan and Hunan provinces of China, which are famous for their bold and spicy cuisine. These regions are well-known for their love of chili peppers and the unique flavors they create.

Sichuan cuisine is especially famous for its “mala” spice, which combines the heat of chili peppers with the numbing sensation of Sichuan peppercorns. This creates a flavor like no other. Duo jiao is a key ingredient in many Sichuan dishes, giving them that fiery and distinctive taste.

Hunan cuisine is also known for its spiciness, but it leans towards deep and rich flavors. Duo jiao is important in Hunan dishes too, adding a lively heat and improving the overall taste.

The method of making duo jiao by fermenting salted chili peppers has been a part of Chinese culinary traditions for centuries. It’s a way to preserve chili peppers and develop complex flavors. The fermentation process deepens the flavors, resulting in duo jiao’s characteristic tangy, salty, and spicy profile.

With time, duo jiao has become a beloved condiment in Chinese cuisine, not just in Sichuan and Hunan, but also in other regions and among international food enthusiasts. Its intense spiciness and unique taste make it a versatile ingredient that adds depth and excitement to various dishes.

How to Make Duo Jiao

Ready to make some delicious and spicy Duo Jiao? It’s super easy, and your taste buds will love it! Here’s what you need and what to do:


  • 200 grams of fresh red chili peppers
  • 2 tablespoons salt


  1. Wash the red chili peppers really well under cold water. Remove the stems and throw away any peppers that look bad.
  2. Make sure the chili peppers are completely dry. You can use a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to pat them dry. This helps them stay good during fermentation.
  3. Now, cut the chili peppers into small pieces, about 1-2 centimeters long. You can choose the size you like.
  4. Put the chopped chili peppers in a bowl and add the 2 tablespoons of salt. Mix them together well so the salt gets all over the peppers.
  5. Put this mixture into a clean glass jar or container. Make sure the jar is completely dry to avoid any mold.
  6. Close the jar tightly and leave it at room temperature for about 1 week. During this time, the salt will pull out the water from the peppers, creating a salty liquid called brine.
  7. After a week, check to make sure there’s brine in the jar and the chili peppers are covered by it. If not, you can add some boiled and cooled water to cover them.
  8. Seal the jar again and let the Duo Jiao ferment for another 2 to 3 weeks. This is when the flavors get stronger, and the chili peppers become a bit sour and salty.
  9. When the fermentation is done, move the Duo Jiao to a clean, airtight jar, and keep it in the refrigerator. It can last for several months.

How to Store

  • Transfer the chilis into clean, oil-free, airtight jars or containers.
  • Store the jars in the fridge. You can use this right away, but its flavor will be even better after about a week.
  • You can keep this in the fridge for up to 3 months, or in the freezer for 9 months.
  • When using the sauce, make sure to use a clean, oil-free spoon to scoop it out.
  • After each use, put the jar or container back into the fridge.


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