How to Make Chilli Paste Using Dried Chillies

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This is another one of my videos showing simple Asian food and ingredient preparation techniques.

image of large dried chillies

Dried large chillies have a smooth texture.

Until I started getting feedback from my Hangouts-on-Air it never really occurred to me that a large segment of my audience really aren’t familiar at all with Asian ingredients, nor know how to use them.

This series aims to bridge the gap and get you shopping for and using Asian pantry items like a pro 😉

Watch on Youtube >>

A few points about dried chillies –

  • Fresh and dried chillies have slightly different notes to them; when making curries some people mix the two types of chilli. If you have trouble getting ahold of fresh chillies though, chilli paste from dried chillies is fine for use in curries and some types of sambal.

  • Large dried chillies like the ones here are usually a dark red colour and smooth in texture. They are much less spicy and give a deep red colour to your dishes. They’re great for use in dishes where you need a lot of chilli without having the dish turn out too spicy or hot. I use it a lot in my laksa paste.

  • Small dried chillies are made from bird’s eye chillies and they tend to be small and wrinkly and a brighter red colour. They also contain a lot of heat, and can be quite fiery, just like their fresh counterparts.

  • I see a lot of recipes that suggest soaking the chillies in hot water for a few minutes and then blending or pounding them. I personally find that doesn’t quite cut it if you need to blend the chillies to a smooth paste.

  • FYI if you’re one of those who like the idea of using mortar and pestle for your Asian food prep, frankly you’re going to be pounding away for quite sometime. We used stone grinders to make chilli paste back in the day in Malaysia; dried chillies even after soaking/boiling don’t lend themselves well to being pounded if you’re trying to achieve a smooth paste.


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