How To Clean and Use Dried Chili Peppers
Four Helpful Steps To Cleaning And Using Dried Chile Peppers: Whole dried chiles, ground chiles, chili-pods and chili flakes are used to flavor and add a kick to stews, soups, vegetables, pasta dishes, beans, curries, etc. The idea of drying the chiles is to preserve them so they will last for a longer time.
- With a damp cloth or under running cool water remove the dust and dirt from the chiles.
- Remove the stem if they are not going to be stuffed and remove the seeds and veins.
ROAST or TOAST:
- Using a dry pan gently roast for about 3-4 minutes making sure to turn frequently for even results. Do not scorch them. They will puff and somewhat reconstitute themselves. Your goal is to soften them if they are stiff and dry.
In order to use the dried peppers in most recipes, you need to rehydrate them by soaking the chiles in hot water. However you can add the chopped dried chiles directly without having to rehydrate into soups, stews, casseroles or meat mixtures because the long cooking will do the rehydrating for you.
- Soak in warm water for about 20 minutes. Save the soaking liquid as most recipes call for its use. It is commonly used to puree the softened chiles.
- Puree the softened chiles with the soaking liquid.
- Do not make the paste too smooth nor too thick. Remember that texture is very important in salsas.
- To puree your chiles, use a blender or food processor, using some of the soaking water you saved. If you want your puree to have a finer texture or you want to remove those stowaway seeds, press the puree through a strainer. This paste is often fried in oil with other ingredients to yield a final hot chile base.