1. Using a sharp knife, hold the chili
firmly at the stalk end and cut it in half lengthways. Remove the stalk
from the chili, also removing a thin slice from the top.
2. Using a small, sharp knife, scrape out
the seeds and fleshy white ribs from each other.
Roasting and Peeling Fresh Chilies
1. Dry-fry the chilies in a frying pan
until the skin is scorched all over. Alternatively, spear them on a long
handled metal skewer and place them over the flame of a gas burner to
roast until the skin blisters and darkens. Be careful not to let the
2. Place the roasted chilies in a strong
plastic bag while they are still hot and tie the top to keep the steam
in. Set aside for 20 minutes, then peel off the blistered skin.
3. Cut off the stalks, slit the chilies
lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a small, sharp knife.
Soaking Dried Chilies
To bring out the flavor of dried chilies,
it is best to soak them for up to 1 hour before use.
1. Soak the chilies in hot water for about
10 minutes (longer if possible) until the color is restored and the
chili has swelled and softened. Drain.
2. Cut off the stalks, then slit the
chilies lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Slice or chop the flesh.
For pureed chilies, put in a food processor or blender with a little
soaking water and process until smooth.
Grinding Dried Chilies
This method gives a distinctive and smoky
taste to the resulting chili powder and is worth the effort.
1. Soak the dried chilies in water, then
drain and pat dry with kitchen paper. Dry-fry in a heavy-based pan until
2. Transfer to a mortar and grind to a
find powder with a pestle. Store in an airtight container.