Cooking with Chiles

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Chiles are an important ingredient in many recipes. This is a page about cooking with chiles.


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The earlier you add fresh chiles to a recipe that you're cooking, the hotter the bite will be. If you like a more mild bite then add them to your recipe at the last possible moment.

Most of a chile's heat is in the seeds and in the white membranes so you can control the amount of heat of any dish by removing them or adding them.

Also, the larger the size of any particular variety of a chile is less hot than their smaller counterparts.

By Deeli from Richland, WA

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September 7, 2007

This is the time of year to purchase fresh roasted green chilies, but why have someone else roast something you can do yourself so easily?

Here's how: In the evening or morning when it's cooler, wash and air dry fresh chilies. My favorite is the Anaheim variety, but this works for all of the chilies. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Lay the chilies across your oven rack, with 1/2 inch in between each one. Let them roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until chilies are black on most of their surfaces.


You can turn the chilies over halfway through the roasting. Cover cookie sheets with heat-proof plastic wrap. Using tongs place the blackened chilies on the wrapped cookie sheets. Let them steam and cool, around 30 minutes. Put the cooled pans into the freezer. After they have frozen, stack the chilies into freezer bags. Remove as needed.

The skins will slip off by simply putting the frozen chilies under hot water. The taste of these are SO much better than anything you can take out of a can. Enjoy!

Kim from Crawford, CO

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October 23, 2005

It is very important not to touch your nose, eyes, or mouth after handling or eating hot peppers. If you do, flush with water immediately. The capsaicin in the peppers can be extremely painful to your eyes and can even burn or irritate your skin (especially if you have cuts on your hands).


If possible, wear thin rubber gloves while preparing chili peppers. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water when done working with chilies. If the bite is too strong when you eat a chili, chew on bread or another starchy food; water only makes the bite worse as it spreads it.

To decrease the heat intensity of chilies, wash them, cut them open, and remove the seeds and veins. Also, soaking cut up chilies in salt water for at least an hour will help cool them off.

To add a mild pepper flavor to your dish, poke holes in the chili of your choice with a toothpick (or cut slits in it) and add it to a food that is already cooking. When cooking is complete, remove the chili from the dish.

Chilies can also be roasted whole over a gas stove, broiler, or on a grill. Use a cooking fork to hold each pepper over the flame. Turn frequently until the chili's skin is blackened. After cooking is complete, place chilies in a paper or plastic bag for 15 minutes. Scrape off skin, cut off stem, and pull out core. Scrape any remaining seeds.


Preparing Dried Hot Peppers

Use a damp cloth to wipe peppers. Grind chilies in a food processor for use as chili powder. To soften their texture and make their flavor more mild, soak chili peppers in water prior to using.


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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 23, 2004

I am trying to make as many food items myself, rather than buying processed. If a recipe calls for a can of green chiles, what kind of chile pepper would I substitute and would I just chop them up to use?

Kathy from Missouri


By Joe (Guest Post)
April 23, 20040 found this helpful

Here are a few sites with info. Chiles are not always in season so you will want to target when they are cheap at your grocery market or produce stand and buy a bunch up. Then roast them before either canning or freezing them.


Roasting & Freezing Fresh Chiles

Roasting Anaheims blackens them, removes the skins, and prepares them for freezing. (Photo: Susan Belsinger)

Green chiles don't dry well but you can preserve them whole by roasting or grilling and then freezing them. (If you freeze them without grilling, the chiles will become mushy.) Large green chiles are best for this method. Most thick-fleshed peppers—New Mexico green chiles, Anaheims, anchos, mulatos, and the sweet bells—have a thin, tough skin that is best removed for pleasant eating. The traditional method is to roast the peppers: They may blacken a little, and the skin will blister and become loose. Once roasted, these chiles will freeze well.

You can roast chiles in three ways, depending on the number you have to prepare. In all cases, cut a small slit at the stem end of the chiles to keep them from bursting. If you only have a few chiles, roast them directly on the open flame of a gas stovetop. Watch them carefully and turn frequently with tongs.


If you want to preserve a larger number of green chiles—say, six or more—place them in a shallow baking pan, and set it about 4 inches below the broiler. Turn frequently to blister the chiles evenly. Watch them carefully so that they don't overcook. The skin does not have to blacken to become loose; if it wrinkles when you push it with the tongs, the chile has been blistered enough.

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Here's some general Green Chile tips..

1. To keep green chillis fresh, remove stems and store in plastic bags.

2. If you wish to store chilli powder for a long period, smear a little groundnut oil on the inside of the jar before storing. This will prevent the chilli powder from getting rancid.

3. To prevent green chillies from turning red, keep them in a jar with a little turmeric powder sprinkled over them.

4. In summer, buy green chillis in a large quantity. Blanch for 5 minutes and drain. Dry in the sun till crisp. Powder and keep in airtight containers.

5. This Powder can be used in cutlets, etc. It comes handy when we are short of fresh chillis.

6. During summer, to keep green chillis fresh, wash them in cold water, remove the stalks, place in cold water for 5 minutes, then wrap in a polythene bag.

7. Use green chillis for a better flavour in any dish needing lime juice.

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This site has some great info about Green Chiles

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By Joe (Guest Post)
April 23, 20040 found this helpful

Generally speaking, I believe if you wanted to use fresh chiles in something like Enchiladas (YUM!) you would want to roast the chiles first. Otherwise they would be crunchy.

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By Joe (Guest Post)
April 23, 20040 found this helpful

One last thing, I believe Chiles are in season towards the end of summer, so that is when they would be cheapest.

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By susan_a362 (Guest Post)
April 28, 20040 found this helpful

I've never done it, but when we lived in Albuquerque, a friend cut both ends of the chilies, roasted them, then - leaving shell on and still using rubber gloves just in case, would use a rolling pin to press out the insides. It's my understanding that the seeds carry a lot of punch in comparison to the flesh. It's a matter of preference and type of chili that you process. Good for you - they're too expensive purchased canned. Perhaps you could freeze the product in ice cube trays, then transfer cubes to the freezer."
This same friend also swore by freezing corn on the cob whole with husks on. Don't remember if she removed the silks; and overabundance of tomatoes whole until you can get around to processing them.""

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