Red Chilli Paste Recipe and Video (Homemade Chilli Paste)

This homemade red chilli paste is a very handy basic to have in your fridge. It is a staple in South East Asian kitchens and is used in so many different ways: as a condiment, a marinade and an all purpose cooking ingredient.
Homemade Red Chilli Paste in lass jar, dark photo
Red Chilli Paste

This homemade red chilli paste recipe is is going to save you a lot of time – it’s a handy, basic recipe that can be used as an ingredient in so many East and South east Asian recipes.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Homemade Chilli Paste Recipe

So many recipes in Asia call for a teaspoon of chilli paste here, a tablespoon there so, rather than grinding it up from scratch each time or substituting it with fresh chillies, make this paste up and keep it in the fridge. You’ll have the double benefit of a time-saving ingredient whenever you need it and your final dish will have a deeper, more well rounded flavour than when using fresh chillies.

When I first wrote this recipe back in 2013, I gave you the recipe for the long and slow cooking paste, as I’ve always made it. But over the years, I’ve had so many requests for a quicker paste and using fresh chillies that now,

you get 2 recipes for the price of 1 when you visit this page, a quick version and a low and slow!

Chilli Paste 1

is a speedy one that we cook for the briefest of times, using dried or fresh chillies, resulting in a light flavour and aroma, retaining much of the freshness of the chilies, garlic and onion used, with a hint of sweetness from the onion.

This quick red chilli paste is best used as a cooking ingredient, as it very much retains the raw taste of the ingredients, namely the chillies, onions and garlic.

Chilli Paste 2

is indispensable in my kitchen. The key to this second homemade chilli paste is in the frying of the paste. In Malay, we call this tumis and the longer the cooking time, or the tumis time, the deeper the aroma and flavour, and the darker the colour. For this second version, you want to cook for a minimum of 1 hour; I like to go for an hour and a half to two, if I have the time.

You can use either fresh red chillies or dried ones in this second paste. Dried chillies will always give you a deeper aroma and flavour, however, as we are cooking for a long time here, that doesn’t really matter.

In this long cooking one, the pot you cook it in makes a difference to how dry your paste will be. In a wok, given the wider nature of the cooking pot, your chilli paste will dry up quicker and will most likely need more water.

Homemade Red Chilli Paste

How to use either Chilli Paste

  • As a marinade (think roast and barbecue – meat and vegetables)
  • As a sandwich flavour filler
  • As a condiment
  • As a dipping sauce
  • As a cooking ingredient (for stir fries, omelettes, pies and tarts)
  • For jazzing up the good old mayo and any salad dressing

It is a pretty spicy paste, so when using this homemade chilli paste in another recipe, a small amount goes a long way.

Some recipes that you can use the red chilli paste in include the examples below. If the recipe calls for a chilli paste, you can do a straight swap. Otherwise, substitute the chilli paste here for the fresh or dried chillies the recipe calls for.

Sambal Fishball using this Red Chilli Paste

I have a spicy recipe on my new blog, Singaporean and Malaysian Recipes (SMR) that can be made with this red chilli paste.

In that recipe, Sambal Fishball, you can use about 4 – 6 Tbsp of this chilli paste in place of the dried chillies, with added water. Follow the rest of the recipe. Click here to get the recipe.

Can’t get fishballs? Use prawns, or chicken or pork, whatever works. Even tofu.

Sambal Fishball

Homemade Chilli Paste Ingredients

The Chillies

Fresh chillies – use whatever variety you fancy, as long as they are red, for a red chilli paste. For a green chilli paste or sambal, take a look at the gallery below.

Dried chillies – this recipe started out life as how to make homemade chilli paste from dried chillies! So, use what you fancy, as long as they are not the smoky type like chipotle. Smoked dried chillies have their own place, like in the Chipotle Paste.

Candlenuts

Candlenuts

Candlenuts are an essential cooking ingredient in some parts of South East Asia, to enrich and thicken dishes, which is its purpose in this homemade chilli paste. Click here to read more. I can only get them online, so am happy to use macadamia nuts which are an almost perfect substitute.

Failing that, a smaller number of cashew nuts will do just as well. You could do away with the nuts completely if you like, you will still get a deep flavour from the long cooking of the second paste.

Homemade Red Chilli Paste in a glass jar, dark photo
It gives such an amazing depth of flavour, compared to just using fresh chillies in recipes

Variations on our Red Chilli Paste Recipe

You could add to the flavour of this homemade chilli paste by adding any of the following:

Tomatoes

Dried Shrimp – click to read more

Shrimp Paste – click to read more

TIP: A chopper, blender or food processor is a must for this as all the ingredients are processed together, then fried.

How long will this Chilli Paste Keep?

If you store it in the fridge in a clean jar, it will keep for a week in the fridge. To extend this to about 2 weeks, cover our red chilli paste with a layer of vegetable oil, about 1 cm depth.

You can also extend its shelf life in the following 2 ways:

Canning/Preserving our Chilli Paste

  1. Stick with this recipe and use the pressure canning method. Preserved this way, your paste will last a good 2 years.
  2. Or you can add the juice of 2 limes to this recipe to increase the acid level, and give it a water bath. Increasing the acid level in the chilli paste is in keeping with food safety advice on the preserving low acid level foods like chillies and onions. The lime juice does add a tang to the recipe, but let’s face it, lime juice makes so many recipes taste better! If you are increasing this recipe, be sure to increase the amount of lime juice proportionately too.

And guess what? It makes the perfect gift for a foodie friend.

More Chilli Pastes and Condiments

Head on over to the Chilli Page for more recipes, as well as articles on the odd chilli that I’ve grown over the years. Like the following:

Images by LinsFoodies

♥ If you like the recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! 😉 Thank you! ♥ 

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor. 

Lin xx

Homemade Red Chilli Paste in lass jar, dark photo

Homemade Chilli Paste – a very handy basic recipe

This homemade red chilli paste is a very handy basic to have in your fridge. It is a staple in South East Asian kitchens and is used in so many different ways: as a condiment, a marinade and an all purpose cooking ingredient.
5 from 1010 votes
Print Pin Add to Collection
Course: Ingredients
Cuisine: Singaporean and Malaysian
Keyword: spicy
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Soaking Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16 (Makes about 600ml/2 2/5 cups/700g
Calories: 114kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor
Cost: £4.20 ($5.50) for the whole amount

Ingredients

  • 100 g (3½ oz) dried red chillies, non smoky OR 450g (1 lb) fresh red chillies
  • 1 large onion
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 5 candlenuts (or 5 macadamia nuts or 3 cashew nuts)
  • 1 tsp palm or white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

Chilli Paste 1 (5 minutes)

    If you are using fresh chillies, go straight to step 3.

    • Put half a kettle on and then start by cutting the red chillies in 2-3 pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors, depending on the size of the chillies.
    • Pour your just off the boil water onto the cut chillies, cover, and soak for 20 minutes.
    • Place the chillies, onion and garlic in a chopper and chop to a fine paste.
    • Heat the oil in a deep wok or saucepan, then add the ground ingredients, the salt and the sugar. Fry on medium heat for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. It’s done.
    • Let cool, then store for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

    Chilli Paste 2 (1 hour 3 minutes)

      If you are using fresh chillies, go straight to step 3.

      • Put half a kettle on and then start by cutting the red chillies in 2-3 pieces with a pair of kitchen scissors, depending on the size of the chillies.
      • Pour your just off the boil water onto the cut chillies, cover, and soak for 20 minutes.
      • In the meantime, peel and quarter the onions, and peel the garlic.
      • Drain the chillies and place everything apart from the oil, in a blender/food processor .
      • Heat the oil in a deep wok or saucepan, then fry the chilli paste on medium heat initially for about 3 minutes until fragrant.
      • Lower the heat and cook for an hour, uncovered, stirring every 15 minutes or so. In the last 15 minutes, you might have to stir a couple of times more, as the chilli paste starts to dry up.
      • Let it cool to room temperature and store in a clean jar in the fridge; it will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge. You can even freeze until needed, in ice cube trays would be perfect, as you can use a little at a time as needed.

      Have you tried my latest spicy recipe from Thailand? YOU MUST!

      Video

      Notes

      Time and portions given here are for Chilli Paste 1.
      If you cook your chilli paste in a wok, as I sometimes do, you’ll probably need more water, given the wide, shallower and open nature of your wok.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 2Tbsp | Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.5g | Protein: 1.1g | Fat: 9.9g | Sodium: 152mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 3.3g | Vitamin A: 82.8IU | Vitamin C: 3.3mg

      Carbon Footprint

      Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
      Made it? Upload your photosMention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!

      106 thoughts on “Red Chilli Paste Recipe and Video (Homemade Chilli Paste)”

      1. Hi thanks for this recipe. I made it yesterday and can’t wait to start using it. Can you give me some ideas on how to do that like on a stirfry.

        1. Hi Nihari, if you want to use this in a stir-fry, whether noodles or otherwise, fry it along with the onion and garlic before adding the other ingredients in. 1 teaspoon should be enough for 1-2 people. Unless you want it really spicy.
          Here are some examples you can use this chilli paste in:
          Curry Devil – just sub 1 Tbsp of chilli paste for the chillies in the spice paste.
          Sambal Fishball – 4 Tbsp of chilli paste for the chillies in the paste.
          Mango Sambal – 1 Tbsp of chilli paste for the chillies in the recipe.

          I hope that helps.

      2. I made this out of 11 oz dried chilies, minced garlic, 2 sweet onions, sugar, salt, 5 smallish pickled jalapeños with its juices from the can, left out the nuts. We will see how it turned out. Leaving that to my husband.

            1. Hi Dessie, the amount of added ingredients is pretty flexible.
              Shrimp paste – depends on how much you like it. I am a huge fan, so I would use 1 tablespoon. It gives a lovely depth to this chilli paste. If you’re not sure, 1 tsp or half a Tbsp.
              Tomatoes – now this depends on whether you want to turn this into a tomato-ey chilli paste (sambal) or just add a little flavour.
              For a little tomato flavour, 4-5 medium sized tomatoes will be perfect. If you want it to be little more like a spicy pasta sauce, then I would use a dozen. You could even use 1 whole can of chopped tomatoes, about 400 g/14 oz.
              I hope that helps.

      3. Celia Hartley

        Hi I would like to try your recipe this weekend but would like to know at what stage do I add the lime juice to the cooked variation. Thanks in advance.

      4. 5 stars
        Hi Lin, I’ve made this twice now in the last few months, can’t get enough of it. I use it in EVERYTHING! Got a question for you. What if I use chipotle chilis or other smoky ones? I’ve also made yuor chipotle paste which I totally love, btw!

        1. Hi Lieve, it won’t really work, I’m afraid. Chilli flakes don’t have as much actual chilli skin in them, the ratio of seeds to skin is rather high.
          You are better off using fresh chillies for it, if you can get them.

        1. Hi Ruchi, you can, if you want to, as the recipe doesn’t call for many of them. Just 1 tablespoon of pine nuts will do. Or 2 pecans.
          However, if you can’t get candlenuts or macadamia nuts, I would just leave the nuts out completely. You will still get a delicious chilli paste, as it’s going to be cooked for a long time.

      5. Shamira Rochford

        5 stars
        Hi, I had bags of Birdseye chillies in the freezer so used them for this recipe. Wow, packs a mighty punch! I think next time I will scrape out some of the seeds to make it a bit easier on the throat.
        Great recipe though, and a fabulous way to use up lots of chillies.
        Thanks so much.

        1. Oh boy, that would have packed a bit of heat, Shamira! I don’t think I’d dare make it with just birds eye chillies! Losing the seeds definitely the way to go. I’m glad you liked the recipe, thank you for taking the time to drop a comment, and it’s a pleasure.

          1. The common misconception is that the seeds of peppers are the culprit for the heat. It is actually the membrane that contains the compound for the heat. With using dried chillies, you cannot remove that so the only way to reduce the heat is to use a cooler variety or use fresh and remove the membrane

            1. Thanks Robert, but I’ll have to correct you on that. I am fully aware of what causes the heat in chillies. You can most certainly remove the white placenta, which contains the capsaicin glands, in dried chillies, because we soak them before using. All you need to do is scrape the inside, which is what I do with larger dried chillies. With smaller ones, it’s far too much work.
              Removing the seeds does make a difference to the heat level, for the simple reason that they are inevitably coated with the capsaicin, as they are in close contact with the placenta.

        1. Hi Meera, if you store either in the fridge in a clean jar, it will keep for a week in the fridge. To extend this to about 2 weeks, cover the chilli paste with a layer of vegetable oil, about 1 cm depth.
          You can also give it a water bath, and this should extend its life to a few months without having to keep it in the fridge. Just somewhere dark and cool until needed.

      6. Richard Burrough

        5 stars
        Thank you for this recipe. I have so many dried chillies from the summer, and this will be perfect for it.

        1. Thanks for the recipe, I’m really looking forward to making it! If I add dried belachan to chili paste 2 recipe, how much would you recommend I add?

          1. A pleasure, Xin. I would use 3 tablepoons of belacan in this, but I like lots of belacan in my recipes. You might want to start with 2, and see how it goes.

      7. Gabby Johnson

        5 stars
        Thank you for this recipe and video. I can’t wait to make it. Do you have a post on how to dry peppers at home?

      8. Thank you for what looks like a great recipe. One question though. In the Chile Paste 2 recipe I don’t see you using the salt or sugar? Am I to assume you add it to the chile/onion/garlic mixture before frying?

        1. Thank you, Meli. That was my bad, I’ve edited and added it to step 7, as you lower the heat to cook it for a while. The edit may take a few hours to show up if you read this reply quickly! 🙂

      9. Roger Henderson

        5 stars
        Thank you for this recipe. I have so many dried chilies from last year, just made a huge batch and freezing.

        1. 5 stars
          JUST from Reading the recipe details am so excited can’t wait to make both recipes and start dazzling my mouth and of my family and friends in Soweto. This is gonna be a game changer to our african food.

      10. 5 stars
        Thanks Azlin, just made double the recipe. The house smells so yum, if a bit spicy! Very easy to follow.

      11. Sandeep V Menon

        How can I “tweak” the recipe so that I can store it for a longer period?
        I mean without using preservatives and upto a max period of 3 months

        1. Hi Sandeep, I’ve had a couple of readers give me some advice over the years. These are folks who have a lot of experience in canning. This is what they say:
          1. Sterilise the jars, lids and seals.
          2. Make sure the lid and seal are completely dry. I do this in the oven.
          3. Fill the jars and seal tightly.
          4. Bring a pan of water to boil, and place the sealed jars in the boiling water, completely submerged.
          5. Boil for 10 minutes, then leave them in the hot water for 5 minutes more after turning the heat off.
          The chilli paste should be perfectly fine for 3-6 months.

          How to sterilise jars:
          Turn the oven on to a cool 130˚C/250˚F/Gas Mark ½.
          Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water.
          Place the jars and lids upside down in the oven and leave them to dry, with the door closed for 15 minutes.
          Leave the jars and lids in there, bring them out only when you are ready to fill. Be careful, as they’ll be hot.

          Read more about water baths on this site: https://www.freshpreserving.com/waterbath-canning.html

          I hope that helps.

      12. Karen Hathaway

        We have a lot of cayenne chillies that we have just picked off the plants in the greenhouse. They are fairly dried. Are these a suitable chilli and I don’t think we would use all the paste in 2 weeks. Are both recipes suitable for freezing, perhaps in ice cube trays?

        1. Hi Karen, yes, cayenne are perfect, as you get the flavour and just the right amount of heat level. You can freeze both pastes, but be sure to cover the trays to prevent freezer burn. I use regular clingfilm.

      13. George Simon

        Thanks Azlin, I made both the pastes with the red chillies from the garden. I use the fresher one for cooking and the other one for eating. Really, really good. I am going to look at your other pastes now, cheers.

        1. Help, I’ve made the chili paste 1 but I don’t know how I can use it in food or cooking. Any Specific recipes or ideas for what it tastes good with?

          1. Hi Sandra, the chilli paste is essentially a cooking ingredient, although it can also be used as a condiment (think dips and sauces).
            It can be used in any Asian/Oriental style recipe that calls for red chillies (chilli peppers) or chilli paste as an ingredient. Substitute the chilli peppers with this chilli paste.
            It will enhance the recipe by giving you a deeper flavour. One of the best ways to use this chilli paste is in stir fries, whether it’s noodles, vegetables or a meat stir fry, like these:
            https://www.linsfood.com/perfect-thai-basil-chicken-recipe-pad-kra-pao-gai/
            https://www.linsfood.com/mee-goreng-mamak-indian-fried-noodles/

            It can also be added to stews and curries for heat and flavour:
            https://www.linsfood.com/devil-curry-curry-debal/ (substitute the red chillies with this paste)

            2 of my favourite ways:
            1. adding it to mayo
            2. adding it to salad dressings – make a great spicy potato salad

            I hope that helps. I’ll look into posting recipes that use this chilli paste specifically.

      14. Hi Azlin, just wanted to let you know that we made this yesterday with fresh chillies from the garden. It really is amazing. I mixed it with some mayo for our sandwiches, and you are right, really delicious. We are planning to make some noodles with it today, and I would really like to try that prawn dish of yours. thank you!

      15. Chris Block

        Thank you, I just made a big batch of this and am looking forward to using it in recipes in the coming week. It smells really good!

      16. Steve Tensel

        Thanks, this is really great. Just got a whole lot of dried chillies from the wholesale place and got carried away! I’ll be making this over the weekend, definitely.

      17. I love South East Asian food and this is just the sort of recipe I need in my fridge! Thank you, off to buy a bag of dried chillies tomorrow!

      18. Thank you for this recipe. I do remember it from when you only had the dried chili peppers on there! I’m really pleased to be able to use our chili harvest for this. And you other chili recipes are great too. Planning to try them all out slowly!

      19. Thanks for the recipe, I made version 2 long cook method with Haberno Chillies , it is a fiery paste!
        I would like to store the paste for longer than a couple of weeks, will the paste be able to be preserved by bottling in sterilised jars , and stored till required, out of the fridge.

        1. Hi Garry, with habanero – I’m not surprised! Thanks for your question.
          I’ve tried to preserve this using that simple method and have never been successful. Even when I add a good layer of oil over it, sometime during week 2-3, I’ll find mould in the jar. The only thing that has worked is adding half a cup (125ml) of vinegar to the recipe, then once the jars are all packed, to give them a water bath. As the recipe stands, because of its low acid content, only pressure canning will do.
          On the Tomatillo Salsa Verde post, I touch on this a little, with links to canning/preserving sites: https://linsfood.com/mexican-salsa-verde-green-tomatillo-salsa/

      20. Carol Manfred

        This is really fantastic! I remember my mum having something very similar that she would use for everything. Thanks for the recipe, I plan to make it this weekend.

      21. Thanks a lot for the nutrition information but it looks like there may be an error: 450 servings at 1 gram per serving seems like an awfully small amount to measure, but regardless of the serving size I think the calories listed (206.4) must be for the whole batch, surely not per serving. If 206.4 kcal is for the whole batch then 1 gram would have 0.45 kcal, and that works out to around 6.42 kcal per Tbsp or 2.14 kcal per tsp @ 28 grams per ounce.

        What volume of milliliters do you get from each version? Obviously the short cook will be larger and the long cook one will be dryer and smaller.

        Thanks!

        1. Hi Melanie, thanks for your feedback and questions. The nutritional info was for the whole batch, I hadn’t noticed the 450 for servings.
          I’ve changed that into 20 servings, temporarily.
          As they are both fairly thick pastes, weight was always the easier measurement. The water in paste 1 is optional, and the amount also does depend on the chillies.
          On my list of things to do is to redo both recipes with step by step pics, as requested by some readers. I shall also do a ml measurement for both and most likely, do Tbsp serving counts for the nutritional info.
          Hopefully, that will be done sometime next week, as I’m just about to start filming a 5-recipe chilli course.

      22. David McNeil

        Wow, I really love this recipe. Have so many dried chillies from last summer. I wonder if you could do some step by step pictures and perhaps more recipes that I can use this paste in? Thank you.

        1. Hi David, I’m glad you do, it’s a much loved recipe from my childhood. You’re not the first person to ask. I will get on the step by step pics soon, and yes, I will certainly suggest more recipes that use this recipe.

      23. Nigel Alderson

        Wow, this is simply amazing! I’ve been looking at a few different types of pastes and yours sounds so rich, despite the few ingredients. I like the long cooking idea.

      24. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I have a lot of fresh chili peppers growing. Can I use fresh ones to make this paste?

        1. Hi John, yes, you definitely can, if you are going for a short cooking time, that’ll have a very raw taste and smell, so will be perfect as a cooking ingredient.

      25. Anisa Iskandar

        Great chili paste recipe, Azlin! I was looking for a good one and yours is the sort I remember from my mum’s kitchen in Malaysia! Thank you. Got some chili kering this morning, planning to make it tomorrow.

      26. Sebastian Koch

        This is a really interesting recipe. I will be trying it very soon as I like food from South East Asia.

      27. Michael Hendricks

        I love this chili paste recipe. Your instructions are easy to follow and I like that you give us 2 options. I just made it this morning with the first of my chili peppers, and it smells awesome!

      28. I must say you have very interesting articles here.
        Your posts can go viral. You need initial traffic only.

        How to get massive traffic? Search for: Murgrabia’s tools go viral

      29. This recipe sounds looks and sounds delicious, and the best part is that it’s spicy and hot! Thanks for sharing Azlin!

      30. So tasty sounding! I like spicy – this sounds like the perfect way to keep a bit of spice around to liven up our food.

      31. Oh my, I want to put this paste on everything! So many flavours! I am for sure planning on checking out your other pastes as well! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

      32. Just making some chilipaste from your recipe and it smells wonderful! Should I keep the lid on when cooking for an hour or not?
        Anna-Karin in Sweden

        1. Hi Anna-Karin, I’m sorry I didn’t read this while you were cooking it! The chilli paste is simmered uncovered. I’ll add that to the instructions, thanks.
          How did it turn out?

      33. Just picked a bucket full of my ghost chillis and trinidad scorpion chillis and im going to use your recipe to make my iwn fresh chilli paste. Mmmm cant wait thanks for the recipe

        1. Wow, that’s some very hot chillies you’ve got there! We had the Dorset Naga and White Jolokia last year, can’t wait for summer! I would love to hear how you get on with making your chilli paste and how you plan to use it, given its heat rating!

      34. I will never think of adding nuts to chilli paste but I guess this would thicken the sauce. Interesting!

      35. I really love all kinds of chilli paste and always have some store bought in the fridge. Looking at your recipe, it’s so easy to make, and I have all the ingredients already.
        Love this recipe Lin!

        Nazneen

      Leave a Comment

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      Recipe Rating