What is homemade chili paste supposed to taste like?

I made one with dried chilis and it is spicy, smoky, and bitter. I would not say it tastes good. But it is one element in a new chili recipe. Thoughts?



Nancy October 25, 2016
Just a footnote to the discussion so far. Not sure there is one pattern, one ideal Platonic chili paste or hot pepper sauce. So it's hard to answer the "supposed to taste like" part of your question. I have and make recipes for about half a dozen different types of chili sauce - three harissa (north Africa and middle east), both red & green zhoug (Yemen), home made Sriracha (Rooster) sauce, Thai hot sauce. Some are from cooked, some from raw peppers, some from a mixture. Texture also varies from thick to pure (strained liquid). So if you don't like the recipe you've just made, there are plenty out there to sample and see where your taste lies.
Smaug October 25, 2016
The question was specifically about Tex-Mex style chile pastes (or by extension, Mexican types), which vary mostly by the type of chiles used, but those are once again Tex-Mex and Mexican types.
rldougherty October 23, 2016
And I used 3 anchos, 2 arbols, 3 new mexicos, and 2 chipotles in adobo plus some adobo sauce.
Smaug October 23, 2016
That should balance very well- similar to what I use for red enchiladas, actually (I do usually add some onion and a fresh pepper- Ancho usually- for a bit of sweetness. The state of the chiles is important too; they should not be really dry, should be pretty flexible. Good dried peppers are easy to find in California, but I suspect that old, dessicated peppers are more the norm in a lot of places.
rldougherty October 23, 2016
They were flexible and leather like. We have a ton of Latino grocery stores. I tasted it while it was about half through cooking and much better.
rldougherty October 23, 2016
Thank you! Not sure if you are familiar with J. Kenzi Lopez-Alt but I made the chili out of his cookbook and the chili paste from there as well. The chili was okay, but it was not anything special and I felt something had to be wrong. I looked up chili paste recipes, and after finding a different one from him, it used almost half the amount of peppers and twice as much chicken broth. I think the first was way too concentrated. I think this one is going to be better, but wanted to get some insight before adding it to the recipe.
Smaug October 23, 2016
It depends entirely on what sort of chiles you use, and whether you leave in seeds (which tend to be a bit bitter), but it wouldn't be something you'd want to chow down by the spoonful- as part of a composed dish, they can be wonderful. Also, of course, depends if you used anything besides dried chiles and water. At any rate, I'd go ahead and finish the recipe, see what you think then.
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