How to Rehydrate Dried Peppers

July 28, 2011

You've got a big ol' dried chile staring up at you. It's ugly. It's stiff as a board. Now what? A&M have a trick for how to get those dried chiles pliant -- and compliant to all of your cooking whims, like the roster of chile pepper recipes you've been dying to try! 

This week's videos were once again shot and edited by our videographer Elena Parker (who now produces our bi-weekly Dinner & a Movie column as well!).

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • bvrlybest
  • Taylor
  • MexicoKaren
  • Terry Norman
    Terry Norman
  • garlic&lemon
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


bvrlybest January 22, 2012
Hi all. I'm in Oaxaca and took Suzanna Trilling's mole class. We took out the seeds then put the dried pepper on the comal (hot surface--no oil) until they blistered then put the hot water over them for 15 minutes. Then we ground them for the first layer of the mole process. The seeds were burned on tortillas soaked 2X then ground and strained as the 3rd layer. What a process and not sure it is my favorite. I'm glad I now know how to make this rich and complex sauce though. (BTW, only 2 of the 7 moles have chocolate.)
Taylor August 3, 2011
I like to use a kitchen shears to cut out the stem and make the slice up the side. I always toast them in a dry skillet until the aromas just start coming up.
MexicoKaren August 3, 2011
Might have been a good idea to do a little googling before you made this video! Dried chiles are a culinary treasure. After living in Mexico for five years, I have gradually become aware that all of the great and mysterious sauces here have a base of dried chiles. Solar Chef is absolutely right. Mexican cooks first toast the chiles, remove seeds and stems, soak them in boiling water for a bit, whirl them in the blender, and often finish by pushing them through a sieve. The Mexican cook could not function without a blender - even the smallest tiendas (corner stores) often sell blender parts.

But one way to use dried chiles without soaking is to take a guajillo chile (looks like that is what you are using in your video), remove stems and seeds, then slice it into tiny strips like a chiffonade, then saute in EVOO/butter with garlic as a topping for fish, shrimp, pork tenderloin, whatever. It turns sweet and crispy. Yum.
Terry N. August 2, 2011
Coming from New Mexico, I love to toast dried chiles in the oven till I smell the wonderful aroma, cut to ends off, remove the seeds and place them in a blender with some hot chicken stock, toasted cumin, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. I puree the mixture until nice and smooth and then pass it through a food mill. Great over enchiladas, burritos, eggs, or even thrown into poseli soup! Red chile in the fridge is like money in the bank! Terry
garlic&lemon August 1, 2011
I agree with solar chef. Red Chile tastes better without the skins and seeds. And definitely dry roast those chiles. Be very careful because dried chiles burn FAST! In the winter if the oven is on, I will spread the chiles on a baking sheet and pop in a 350F oven for 3-4 minutes. You would be amazed at the depth of flavor dry roasting adds.
the S. July 30, 2011
May I add a few ideas to your chile process. Most chile dry chile skins once soaked are still very tough. I suggest that you tear the stem off the chiles first. Open them up and dump out the seeds. Most seeds are unpleasant to chew with the exception of ancho chile seeds which once roasted have a very nice nutty flavor. Once seeds are removed tear chiles in half and dry roast in a pan to bring out some flavor. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. When they become very soft but them in a blender with enough of the soaking liquid to process to a thin paste. Pour the paste in a strainer and using a rubber spatula drive the paste through the strainer. Now you have chile paste free of skin and seeds.