Looking to spice up your latest curry? You’ve got two options, waste valuable time chopping up chillis or dip a spoon in a jar and add a small dollop of premade paste. So, what’s it to be hotshot? By making a batch of green chilli paste in advance, you have everything to gain, time, flavour and of course, heat… With nothing to lose. Today, I will show you how to make it and tell you everything you need to know about this wonderful (and fiery) game-changer.
What is Green Chilli Paste Made of?
Here’s the good news. All of the ingredients in green chilli paste are really easy to find, and there aren’t that many of them. My green chilli paste recipe uses heaps of fresh green chillis, a little water, a little oil and salt, and a tiny splash of vinegar. That’s literally it!
The green chilli forms the bulk of the paste. The water loosens the mixture slightly. The oil improves the consistency and makes it last a little longer.
And the vinegar?
Well, that’s my little secret. When you add acid to chilli, it makes things just a little hotter. If you’ve seen my vindaloo recipe, you’ll notice that I add lemon juice for precisely this reason!
Is Green Chilli Paste Spicy?
You bet your burning ass it is.
Green chillis tend to be super fiery. This recipe has loads of them means that it makes a heat that just doesn’t quit. This authentic Indian chilli paste recipe uses all of the chilli, including the seeds. As these are the hottest part of the chilli (because they contain the most capsaicin), you can be sure that this ingredient is hard to miss.
Why Use Chilli Paste?
There are a lot of benefits to using green chilli paste in your curry dishes. Here’s what you’ll gain by using it: -
Using Paste Saves Time – Any time a recipe says ‘chop a fresh green chilli’, you’ve automatically saved yourself time by using chilli paste. Instead of messing around with knives and chopping boards, you can just add a spoonful!
Intense Chilli Flavor – You actually intensify the chilli flavour when making chilli paste. The ingredients mix and meld as they are left to rest, and the chilli releases oils that make it even hotter. I find green paste tastes better than fresh chillis.
Convenience – This recipe will take you about 10 minutes to make max. from then on, you won’t ever need to buy, find or chop a chilli again.
Easily Tweak the Heat of Your Curry Dishes – If you have made your curry mild, you can quickly and easily raise the spice level in seconds. What’s more, If you are cooking a curry for a crowd, not everyone will want their curry to be hot. You can use your chilli paste to custom tailor how piquant each individual curry dish is!
Which is the Best Chilli to Use for Chilli Paste?
The type of chilli you use will have a direct bearing on the success of your chilli paste. Here’s a quick table detailing some of the chillis you might want to consider using in your paste. Pick based on heat, and you won’t go far wrong: -
Type of Chilli
Scoville Heat Units
Heat in Real Terms
Birds Eye Chilli
How to Use Green Chilli Paste in Your Recipes
Using green chilli paste is about as easy as it gets. There are a few ways you can use it. Normally I would add it during the early stages of cooking. If you’ve read my complete guide to BIR cooking, you’ll know that most dishes start with a spoonful or two of garlic and ginger paste. This is about the time you normally want to add chilli paste.
If you want the taste of fresh green chillies to really shine through, you can also stir in a dollop towards the end of the cooking process. The later you add it, the hotter it is!
My one piece of advice when using chilli paste is this; Use it sparingly! A little goes a long way, and remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out once it is in. That said, there are ways to cool down a spicy curry.
How to Make Green Chilli Paste
Right, as I said at the start, making green chilli paste for curry is super easy.
There are two techniques you can use. The first, using a pestle and mortar, is authentic, but it is also a bit labour intensive. To save yourself time, I’d always recommend using a blender for Indian cooking. It’s so much more convenient.
We start by preparing heaps of fresh green chillis. To do this, all you need to do is slice the stalks off as close to the ‘top’ of the chilli as you can. I recommend using around 30 – 40 chillis. This might look like a lot now, but once they have been blitzed down, they reduce in volume significantly.
You’ll find big bags of green chillis in most Asian supermarkets. Even well-known supermarkets have started stocking huge bags of chillis (birds-eye or green finger chillis especially).
We add the chillis en masse to the blender jug and then add a couple of tablespoons of oil, the same quantity of water, a small splash of white wine vinegar and about two teaspoons of salt.
Guess what happens next?
We blitz the entire lot until it is mashed into a fiery green pulp. All we need to do is store it, ready for later use. You’ll find out how to do this in my FAQ section.
Right, here’s the recipe…
Tips and Tricks
Touching your eyes (or other areas) after you’ve been chopping fresh chilli is a mistake you’ll only make once. Chilli oil can get under your fingernails and then surprise you when you least expect it, even after you have washed your hands! The solution is to wear a pair of rubber gloves. I use these.
Prepping Chillis, the Quick Way
Sure I said to use a knife and a chopping board. Do you want to know a quicker and easier way to prep chillis? Use a good pair of kitchen scissors. Even more time saved!
Remove Seeds for Milder Paste
Do you love the taste of chilli but aren’t a fan of too much heat? Don’t worry, I’ve got you! If you want to make your chilli paste a little milder, remove the seeds when prepping the chilli.
You Can Use Red Chilli
Can’t get hold of green chilli? Not a problem. This recipe works just as well with red chilli too. It will taste pretty similar too!
Extractor Fans on When Cooking with Green Chilli Paste
When it comes time to cook with your green chilli paste, I’d advise making sure your kitchen is well ventilated with the extractor fan on. Otherwise, you’ll be coughing and sneezing your way around the kitchen with stinging eyes.
Mix with Garlic and Ginger Paste for A Taste Explosion
Want to create a real ‘super-ingredient’? Mix equal parts of chilli paste with ginger and garlic paste for the ultimate in curry cooking convenience!
Consistency is Key
The key to my authentic Indian chilli paste recipe for Indian cooking is to get the consistency right. And by ‘right’, I mean as smooth as possible. It might take a few go’s with a spoon and repeated blending to get it right. You are looking for a paste with the same consistency as pesto. Make it too ‘chunky’, and you are going to end up biting into big bits of chilli, which isn’t pleasant.
Green Chilli Paste | FAQ
Although this is a simple recipe, people still have questions. Here are some commonly asked things people always want to know about green chilli paste.
How Do You Store Green Chilli Paste?
Ok, storage is really easy. I normally tip the entire lot into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. Provided it is kept cold, and you don’t cross-contaminate by using a dirty spoon to remove the paste, you’ll find it stays good for around two weeks. Food storage jars like these are my go-to choice.
Want to make it last even longer?
Here’s another great suggestion. Invest in a silicone ice cube tray or two, and spoon your spicy paste into them before freezing. When it comes time to cook, just pop a cube straight into the pan!
By using this technique, your spicy paste will last pretty much indefinitely.
Which is Hotter. Red or Green Chilli Paste?
Green chillis are hotter than red chillis. Therefore, it stands to reason that green chilli paste will be hotter, in general. However, there are exceptions to every rule. The truth is it depends on the type of chilli that you use. Scotch bonnets (which can be red or orange) are significantly hotter than green finger chillis.
You’ll tend to find that smaller chillis are significantly hotter than larger chillis too.
Making green chilli paste saves time, effort, and increases the taste. What’s not to love? The recipe can be completed in around 5 minutes and will take your curry game to the next level. Where are you going to use it? If you like heat, I’ve got a suggestion for a super hot curry here that you might like.