Cutting your Chiles into Strips (Rajas):
Some chiles have thin skins and thick flesh; they are usually the wrinkly looking chiles like ancho, mulato, pasilla and choricero. These chiles are good soaked as previously mentioned, cut into strips or diced. Add the rehydrated chiles to soups, sauces, stews, dressings, salads, salsas, batters and breads.
Stuffing your Chiles
Some chiles are good to stuff, again they tend to be the ones with thin skin and thick flesh, the wrinkly ones, ancho, mulato, pasilla, choricero, even chipotles. How you soak them and handle them will be slightly different. Firstly pick chiles that are whole, not broken. Wipe over to remove any dirt, Do Not remove the stem, but carefully make a slit down the side of the chile and shake out the seeds. The soak in just boiled water as above but for slightly less time, you do not want a really soft chile or it is more difficult to handle. Carefully remove from the water and blot on papper towels. Use a teaspoon to insert your filling and then they are ready to be deep fried or baked according to your recipe.
Crushing your chiles
This really only works at home with thin skinned and thin fleshed chiles, like de arbol and habanero. These chiles can be oven toasted before hand to make them crispier. Let them cool and then pound in a pestle and mortar, or whizz in a food processor. Add to a dish where there is liquid present to absorb.
Snipping your Chiles
This method is good for garnishing dishes. It works very well with guajillos and pasillas.Wipe a dried chiles over with a damp cloth to remove dirt. With a sharp pair of scissors horizontally snip very thin rings. Fry these rings in a little oil very gently and then scatter on your dish. Looks like very exotic seaweed.
TO CLEAN DRIED CHILES
- Wipe the skin of the chile with a damp cloth to remove impurities.
- If the chile is going to be used whole and stuffed with a filling, leave the stem on.
- Make a small lateral cut and remove the seeds and membranes.
- If you are not going to be using the chiles whole, remove the stem and remove seeds.
- Sometimes chiles are too dry, and when you try to remove the seeds and membranes, they break into small pieces. If that happens, toast and soak the chiles before cleaning them.
TO ROAST OR TOAST DRIED CHILES
Chiles are roasted or toasted so that they release their aroma and are easier to grind or puree in a blender.
Heat an iron skillet over medium heat.
Place the chiles in the hot skillet, using a spatula to press them against it slightly.
Turn them so that both sides begin to change color. This will take 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.
TO SOAK DRIED CHILES
Place the chiles in just enough luke-warm water to cover them for 5 to 10 minutes; this softens them and makes them regain body.
TO FRY DRIED CHILES
Some recipes call for chiles to be fried instead of roasted.
Heat a scant tablespoon of oil in a small skillet. Add the chile and fry lightly for a minute.
Click here to see our dried chile peppers selections.