In the Black Chili Paste

READY IN: 35mins




  • Your chili paste will use whatever kinds and heat-scale of chiles that you like. The paste I make, my own self, uses mostly ancho chiles, a large, juicy, dark purple pod that came from in New Mexico on Earth That Was. I like the mild heat and smoky flavor. The guajillo peppers are good for that, too. Sometimes I add some chipotle or cascabel , or for extra heat. Other folks who like Earth That Was Chinese often use tien tsin peppers, or for Indian use sanaam or dundicuts. Of course, the fun part is coming up with your own combination that's perfect for you.
  • Okay, first off, remember that you're going to be handling chile peppers. They're hot. It's up to you whether or not you get some gloves from the medic to do the job of keeping your hands covered, but I can tell you from experience that without them… forgetting about having made chili paste and rubbing your eyes or other sensitive nether parts later on can be painful. My own self, I wear the gloves.
  • Let's do this thing! Go ahead and weigh out 6 ounces of your choice of dried chiles. Remove the stems and all the seeds and discard them.
  • Put the cleaned chiles into a galley bowl and pour boiling water over them until they're covered. Let 'em soak for 30 minutes.
  • Drain the water from the chiles (you can keep the water and use it with your noodles, iffen you like).
  • Find the food processor or food mill in the galley and put the soaked chiles in there, then purée them thoroughly. If you use a processor, press the resulting puree through a sieve to get a totally smooth paste. If you use a mill, it'll come out as a smooth paste from that. You'll have about 1 1/2 cups of chili paste.
  • Get yourself a clean jar with a tight lid that's large enough and put the paste into it, then pour some vegetable oil over so that there's a couple of centimeters oil on top of the paste. The oil helps preserve the paste and it'll keep several months in the fridge this way. Without the oil, it'll keep for about 14 days.
  • There, now you've got yourself your own Heat. Experiment with different kinds of dried chiles you find in port, and enjoy!
  • Note: this recipe is included in the cookbook "Big Damn Chefs: The International Browncoat Charity Cookbook" and is my own recipe. "Big Damn Chefs" is available at and is a collaborative charity project. It is collection of recipes submitted by fans (also known as Browncoats) of Joss Whedon's "Firefly" television show.