How To Cook With Dried Chilis

Here you'll learn how to cook delicious meals with dried chilies.

Dried chilies are great to keep on hand for cooking your favorite spicy recipes. When stored properly, hot chili peppers will stay fresh and delicious for many months. Proper storage is the key to maintaining high-quality chili peppers and the foundation for delicious tasting recipes.

Light, moisture, heat, and pests can be a problem when storing dried chili peppers. For lasting freshness, store dried chili peppers in airtight containers or storage bags. A vacuum sealer is the best choice for preparing dried chili peppers for storage. If you must use bags or containers, try to remove as much air as possible. Make sure the storage containers for the peppers are clean and completely dry. Moisture and humidity will ultimately cause spoilage. It's also best to store dried chili peppers in a dark, cool location. They will best retain their flavor when stored at or below a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and they can remain fresh for up to a year. Check dried chili peppers often for signs of pests and spoilage. Dried chili peppers should be leathery to brittle in consistency. Discard all containers of dried peppers that are questionable.

Dried chili peppers can be soaked to bring them back to their original form. Dried chili peppers that have been properly prepared, stored, and refreshed are just as tasty as the day they were freshly picked. To reconstitute dried chili peppers, soak one cup of chili peppers in approximately two cups of cold water for about one hour or until they become tender and appear as they did before drying.



If your dried chili peppers are too hot and spicy for your liking, after they have been reconstituted, boil them on the stove to remove some of the fire. The longer they are boiled the less spicy they will be. Rinse the peppers, change the water, and boil them again if necessary. The peppers will retain most of their flavor, but they will be more tolerable for those who prefer a milder pepper.

Dried chili peppers can be ground and used as a spice in recipes calling for chili powder. To obtain the best results, use a mortar and pestle to hand grind dried chili peppers into chili powder. Brittle dried peppers that the most suitable for grinding. For high quality and superb flavor, never grind chili peppers in advance. Always grind the peppers right before using them in recipes calling for chili powder. Doing so will provide the best flavor possible.

Use dried chili peppers the same as you would in recipes calling for fresh chili peppers, but keep in mind that dried peppers aren't as sizable as fresh peppers. One half cup of dried chili peppers equals approximately one cup of fresh ones. Reconstitute the peppers and grind them when necessary. When using them in hot dishes containing a lot of liquid such as soups and stews, it isn't necessary to reconstitute them first. Just drop them in when the liquid begins to boil, and turn the temperature down so they can simmer until the food is thoroughly cooked and the peppers are tender and hydrated.

When cooking with hot peppers, even those that are dried, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after touching them. Peppers can cause serious problems if they come in contact with the eyes, mucous membranes, and sensitive skin.

© High Speed Ventures 2011