Homemade chilli (chili) paste is a very handy basic to have ready in your fridge. It can be used as a condiment, a marinade and an all purpose cooking ingredient. So many recipes call for a teaspoon of chili paste here, a tablespoon there so, rather than grinding it up from scratch each time or substituting it with fresh chillies etc., make this paste and keep it in the fridge. You’ll have the double benefit of a time-saving ingredient whenever you need it and your final dish will have a deeper, more well rounded flavour than when using fresh chillies.
I’m going to give you two versions of this chili paste; the first one is a quick one that we cook for the briefest of times, resulting in a light flavour and aroma, retaining much of the freshness of the chilies used. The second one is a longer cooking chili paste – one that is a staple in many South East Asian Kitchens. The key to this second homemade chilli paste is in the frying (tumis, in Malay) of the paste. The longer the cooking time, the deeper the flavour and I usually cook mine for about an hour, resulting in a more pronounced aroma and flavour.
How to use either Homemade Chilli Paste
I make these two chilli pastes interchangeably. Quite often, I have them both at hand, in the fridge. I love the lighter one in sandwiches and as a condiment.
There are so many ways to use either chili paste, whether to make Nasi Goreng (Malay or Indonesian Fried Rice), Mee Goreng (Malay or Indian Fried Noodles) or to use it to marinate anything. I love having it as a condiment too, much like a dipping sauce or sambal, because that’s what it is, a sambal!
TIP: Fancy a twist to your usual roast or spuds? Use a little of this to add a kick or, with barbecue season almost upon us, as mentioned before, this is the perfect spicy marinade.
It is a pretty spicy paste, so when using this homemade chilli paste in another recipe, a small amount goes a long way. I love making a large batch and storing it in a sterilized jar (straight out of a dishwasher will do) for easily up to a month. And guess what? It makes the perfect gift for a foodie friend.
TIP: A chopper, blender or food processor is a must for this as all the ingredients are processed together, then fried.
If you have any comments, I’d love to hear from you!
You might also be interested in the following chilli pastes:
A very handy basic chilli paste recipe to make at home and keep.
- 100g/just over 3 oz dried red chilli, cut (with scissors) and soaked in hot water for 20 minutes.
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 10 cloves garlic
- 5 candlenuts or 5 macadamia nuts (optional)
- 1 tsp palm or white sugar
- water as needed
- 100ml vegetable oil for frying
- Drain the chillies and place everything apart from the oil, in a blender/food processor with enough water to get a smooth paste.
- Heat the oil in a deep wok or saucepan, then fry the chilli paste on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
- Let cool, the store for up yo a month in the fridge.
- Heat the oil in a deep wok or saucepan, then fry the chilli paste on medium heat initially for about 5 minutes until fragrant.
- Lower the heat and cook for about an hour, stirring every now and then.
- Let cool and store in a clean jar in the fridge, lasts up to a month. You can even freeze until needed, in ice cube trays would be perfect, as you can use a little at a time as needed.
Prep Time doesn't include 20 minutes of soaking for the chilli.