Whenever I want to use chili flakes in a recipe or just sprinkle it on a few dishes for that extra kick, I usually reach for that little shakable container from the store. There is nothing wrong with that mind you, but sometimes it just tastes like the bottle might have been sitting on the grocery shelf for a while.
When my mother in law stayed with us for a few months, she cooked a lot with dried chilis. After she left to go back to Guatemala, she left behind a package of those tasty peppers.
I immediately started thinking what I could do with them. Then the idea came to me, why not make your own chili flakes? Yes, I do talk to myself a lot while I’m in the kitchen….don’t you?
I found that making homemade chili flakes out of dried chilis is quite easy. If you don’t have dried chilis, but fresh ones, no problem, you can dry them out in the oven. Another plus to making your own chili flakes, is that you can use any type of chili that you want. They are great sprinkled over pizza, in pasta or any dish that you want a add a little tasty heat to.
Here’s how you can make your own:
*Choose your chilis:
Most chili or red pepper flakes come from cayenne peppers, but you can choose any that you like. I used Puya chili peppers because that’s what I had on hand.
Using dried chilis:
Remove the stems. If you prefer less heat, remove the seeds as well but the seeds is mostly what gives chili flakes it’s well known punch.
Using Fresh Chilis:
pre heat oven to the lowest setting.
Wearing gloves, cut off the stem and split the chilis in half length wise. If you want less heat remove the seeds.
Place the chilis on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for approximately 6 hours or until the chilis look like they are dried out.
Place chilis in a mini chopper or a coffee grinder. Just be sure if using a coffee grinder, it’s one that you will no longer use for grinding coffee.
Pule 3 or 4 times until the chilis are chopped into flakes, but are still a bit coarse.
Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth after handling the chilis. Make sure to wash your hands after touching them.
Make sure all cutting boards and mini choppers are thoroughly cleaned afterwards to make sure there are no longer any chili oils remaining.
Place in a sealable container preferably with a shaker top. These can be stored up to 3 to 6 months before they start to lose their flavor.
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