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How to Use Dried Chiles While Cooking

Explore the Ways of How to Use Dried Chiles While Cooking

You probably would have practically never used dried chiles for cooking but you would have certainly been tempted to. The flavor, taste and the hotness that chiles give is unique and interesting.
Foram Mehta
Last Updated: Mar 5, 2018
You may have been wanting to incorporate dried chiles with the food you cook; but lack of enough guidance on how to use them could have stopped you from experimenting with them. That's all right! You can use them now. There are many varieties of chiles; the most commonly used dried chile is jalapeƱos.
Choosing the Right Chiles
Most of the dried chiles are wrinkled and crisp. Pick up sun-dried chiles as they give the best flavor. Discard the withered chiles, the ones with spots on them and the ones that look the most crumpled of the lot.
Storing them Correctly
Moisture can infect the chiles with pests and can ruin them. Therefore, you will need to store dry chiles in air-tight jars or vacuum sealed bags in the refrigerator or you can even keep them outside but they'd perish in 10-12 months.
Different Ways of Using Chiles in Cooking
You can use the chiles as it is in your dish, but the seeds in them will make your dish very hot. Therefore, to reduce the hotness of the chiles, remove the stem and also remove the seeds and use them. Let's look at different ways of using dried chiles.
Toasted Chiles
You toast the dried chiles to burn the extra moisture out and to increase its savor. Toasted chiles stay longer. Chiles have oil in them, therefore when you toast them, oil from it comes out and enhances its flavor. You can use them as it is in soups, curries, stews, etc.
To toast the chiles, you can either use an oven or a stove. If you are using the oven then layer the chiles on the baking sheet and toast them for about 5 minutes. If you are using a stove then layer the chiles on a pan and roast them for 3 minutes by flipping them continuously. Be prompt in your action, to prevent the chiles from burning.
Rehydrated Chiles
To re-hydrate the chiles, you would need to soak the dried chiles in a bowl of hot water for 20-30 minutes. Now remove it from the water and wither the moisture off. Once you have re-hydrated the chiles, they are ready to be processed into a paste or in any way that your recipe states. You can also make chile-sauce using them.
Fried Chiles
Many recipes demand frying of the dried chiles. Using fried-dried chiles is a common feature in Indian food. They use fried chiles as a part of the curry and as a whole-spice to add flavor, taste and spice to you food. You need to pour about a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and fry the chiles for about 30 seconds, once the oil is hot. After this, you can add it to the other ingredients as per your recipe.
Ground Chiles
You can grind the dried chiles once you have toasted them. Toasting would have removed all the moisture from the chiles and it will easily grind. This form of dried chile can be used as the chile-powder spice.
Chile Strips
To be able to cut the chiles into strips you will need to get rid of the seeds and the membranes in them. For this you need to, cut the stem and slit it vertically. After this scrap off all the seeds and you will get a sheet of the chile. Cut them into strips and use it. Re-hydrated chiles can be cut into thin-small strips and can be used in soups, sauces, as dressing and on salads. Another way of using the chile strips is by frying them and using them to garnish your dish.
Stuffed Chiles
You can stuff dried chiles by soaking it first and then slitting it vertically. Then remove all the seeds and membranes and replace them with the filling you want to fill it with. Fry them or bake them as per your liking.
These dried chiles can add a lot of spice and flavor to your food, if used in the right way. It is said that, the larger a chile is, the less it will be hot and vice versa. But this does not always hold true. So check how spicy your chile is before you utilize it.
Caution: Always use gloves when in contact with dried chiles as the oil in them can cause burning sensations and rashes. Wash your hands immediately and do not touch your eye or face, if you get in direct contact with the chiles.
Dry chili soak, prepared for spices
Roasted Dried chiles
Dried chillies in a jar
Dried red hot chiles