Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chili Garlic Paste

Chili Garlic paste is a basic element for any kitchen. Use of different chilies give different unique flavors. I prepare chili paste with different chilies like green chilies, fresh red chilies, dried red chilies and even red chili powder. Make a paste ahead of time, store in the refrigerator upto 3-4 weeks and use it whenever required.

You use any combination, it always turn out wonders and can be used in many different ways. There are many ways to use it – a flavor enhancer in a curry, use to make a chutney/spread/dips/sauces, for various marination, and as a rub for vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and fish too. 

There are many varieties of chili garlic paste in grocery stores, I also use often. But homemade pastes are always different and after all they are homemade where you have control over what you use and how much. Also You will find unique fresh taste in 'homemade' paste which are always missing in 'ready-made' paste. 


Green chilies(fresh) : If using green chilies try to find out chilies which are less spicy than and bigger in size - it totally depend on how you like. I use green chili garlic paste in making different parathas, dry curries veg and non-veg. 

Red chili(fresh/dry) : If using dry red chili then first soak it in warm water to make it soft and completely drain out the water before making paste. Again find out less hot chilies as it give excellent hue to dish adding mind spicy taste. 
I use this paste in many curries, marination, quick grill veggie meat and fish. to make spicy cheese, chutneys. 

Red chili powder: If you are using dry chili powder, it is easier to make the paste without water. I use Kashmiri Red Chili Powder(available in Indian grocery store)- has beautiful color but less heat. Gives wonderful red hue to the dish where it is used. Or simply use Paprika or smoked Paprika for a different flavor.  I use this as chutney, flavor enhancer in curry, marination, rub to meat, fish, veggie for quick summer grill.

To make paste, I use the mortar and the pestle, food processor also work good. Keep in mind do not use any water to paste, so it will lasts for over a month in the refrigerator.

Time: 10 minutes
Serve: 1/2 cup


15 whole dry red chili pepper(or green chilies) 
or 3 tbsp red chili powder (Kashmiri or Paprika)
1/2 cup garlic cloves (more or less as preferred)
2 tbsp brown sugar
salt to taste



1. If using 'dry' red whole chili pepper, soak them in hot water(few tbsp) for about 20 minutes. Remove stem. Remove seeds or keep it as per preference to make spicy or mild paste. 

2. Once softened, remove chili pepper from the water and drain on paper towel. 

2. If you are using store bought red chili powder or fresh red/green chilies(remove stem and seeds) then you are ready to start.

3. In a mortar and pestle or in a food processor, combine peeled garlic cloves and chili peppers/or chili powder, sugar and salt. Pound or process until you get a coarse mix. 

4. Store in a dry covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 weeks.

1. This fresh sauce contains no preservatives, so be sure to store it in the refrigerator.
2. Taste a tiny bit and adjust seasoning per preference. 
3. Do not use any water while pounding or processing. It ensures that paste will store for a longer time. 
4. The consistency will be like a sticky coarse paste.

 Adapted from Pham Fatale.


  1. I bet this was soooooooooper tasty..:)
    Tasty Appetite

  2. Wat a handy and flavourful paste..

  3. Thanks for leading me to your space Amruta. Happy to be your follower.
    Tickling Palates

  4. Thanks for leading me to your lovely space Amruta...glad to follow you!
    love this paste in all my indo-chinese cooking...handy one! thanks for sharing!!
    Spicy Treats