How to Prepare Chilies

How to Prepare Chilies

Removing Seeds from Fresh Chilies

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 flesh burn.

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 crisp.

2. Transfer to a mortar and grind to a find powder with a pestle. Store in an airtight container.

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