Jet Tila's Spicy Kick You Need To Add To Your Mac And Cheese - Exclusive

There's something that you'll notice across Asian cuisines, and it's that chili spice, in its various forms, is a very important flavor component. It's a foundational part of many Indian, Thai, and Chinese recipes and more, and you'll find countless iterations of hot sauce and chili oils across varying Eastern cultures and their foods. In recent years, many of these spices and sauces and condiments have had their moment in the mainstream public's attention. "Sriracha got big ... then Gochujang got really big," recalls Jet Tila, the famed Food Network chef and verified expert in pan-Asian cuisine. Now, Tila, who is "always looking for what's next" in the world of food products, says chili crisp is finally having a moment of its own.

Chili crisp is originally a Chinese condiment consisting of roasted, dried chilis and other spices that have been infused into oil. "I love chili crisp. It's a pretty perfect condiment," Tila confessed to Tasting Table. The chef recently partnered with a popular maker of the sauce, Mr. Bing Chili Crisp, to help market the product and craft specialized spicy recipes. But even when he's not cooking on the job, Tila is tossing chili crisp in all kinds of dishes these days, including some that you might never have imagined.

In an exclusive interview, Tila shared his favorite thing to add chili crisp to, and we've got a feeling that anyone who likes to add an extra kick to their food is going to want to try this flavorful, spicy hack ASAP.

Jet Tila says chili crisp is the missing ingredient you need to perk up your pasta

Depending on who you ask, there's hardly any savory dish out there that can't be made better with a little kick of heat. Heck, there are even a lot of desserts that would likely taste even more amazing with a touch of spice — especially anything with chocolate. And the true connoisseurs of chili — like Jet Tila — know that the dishes you least expect are often the ones that become the most crave-worthy when you add a little chili.

Tila says "mac and cheese" is actually one of his favorite things to add chili crisp to before digging in. It might strike you as odd at first since this is not even close to an Asian dish, but, as Tila rightfully puts it, "if you think about it — take a second, and you're like, 'That sounds delicious.'" 

We can't help but agree with that sentiment, along with the popular opinion that there are many dishes made better with a little dash of chili crisp. Even Tila, says he's more partial to Mr. Bing's than any other form of chili sauce. "It really is a more perfect ingredient than sriracha," he told Tasting Table. "I'm part Thai, and I'm going to get in trouble for saying that, but it really is because it gives you crunch, it gives you garlic, and it gives you spice." 

Keep up with the latest from Jet Tila by following him on Instagram and YouTube.