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15 December 2012 @ 01:00 am
Mama Roja - DIY Chili Paste  
Do you like hot food?
Do you eat chili sauce like it’s ketchup?
Do you keep a bottle of hot sauce in your cubical?
If you said yes to any the above this recipe is for you.

Making chili paste is easy and rewarding. All that’s required is a food processor and quality dried chilies. Best of all you can customize the heat level to exactly your taste.

I developed Mama Roja for my first husband who was part Hispanic, a native Texan and deeply enamored with the traditional dishes of his childhood. Many of dishes I learned to prepare for him started with soaking and grinding or cooking down a sauce of dried chilies. So pureeing and freezing my own “mother paste” seemed like a logical short cut.

Mama Roja works well in soups, stews, beans, salsa, tamales and enchiladas. After a lot of experimentation I have found that roughly one ice cubes worth of paste equals a level of heat. So 2 cubes equals 2 stars of spiciness. Remember that chilies vary from crop to crop as well as type to type so treat your homemade chili paste with caution, as you would with any product that involves capsicum.

   MAMA ROJA - DIY CHILI PASTE                                                                     Makes 1 ice cube tray full

6 ancho chilies or dried poblanos
6 New Mexico chile or dried Anaheims
2 serrano seco or dried serranos
1 chipotles or smoked jalapenos
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled

Electric kettle
Two large bowls
Coffee mug
Rubber gloves
Cutting board and knife
Food Processor
Large serving spoon or ladle
Ice cube tray
Large zip-bag

  • Begin by putting the kettle on to boil and setting up the food processor.
  • While the water is getting up to temp, put on your gloves and de-stem the chilies into a large bowl. If you leave the seeds in the chilies it with make the end product significantly hotter. When breaking open the dry pods be careful not to get any in your eyes or on your face.
  • Cover chilies with boiling water and weight down with the coffee mug. Set bowl aside while the chilies soften. Carefully remove the gloves and discard.
  • Now peel the onion and garlic. Pace half the onion and garlic into the work bowl of the food processor and pulse to a fine paste.
  • Re-glove your hands and add half the soaked chilies to the work bowl using tongs.
  • Puree mixture until it is uniform and no seeds are visible.
  • Carefully pour the paste into the second large bowl and repeat the procedure with the remaining onion, garlic and chilies. Do not discard the soaking water from the chilies as yet.
  • Using the whisk combine the two batches of chili paste and use some of the soaking water to thin the paste to about the consistency of thick ketchup.
  • When blended carefully ladle the mixture into the ice cube tray and freeze.
  • When the paste solidifies, pop the cubes out and repackage into a large zip-bag.
  • Store in freezer and use as needed.

Frugally yours-