In the Kitchen with Chilies: Tips from the Experts

Working with Chiles

Have you checked our recipes yet? We have a growing collection of recipes using our hot sauces and dried chili peppers, and we’re adding to it all the time.

Maybe you have spotted one or two and earmarked them for this week’s dinners. (If you haven’t, we just don’t know why not.)

Perhaps, a few of these recipes have even inspired you to create your own fiery dishes. We love that (and hope you’ll send us your ideas), and we’ve got a few tips to create your Mad Dog meals.

Tips from the Experts

Working with Chiles

Before you get cooking with capsaicin, you should read through these tips. We’re not saying that you have to – only that you should.

Wear Gloves – Seriously. This is a really an important step when working with chili peppers (and hot sauces if you enjoy drinking wine while cooking). Your hands are often strong enough to handle the heat emitted from the skins of your chili peppers, but not always. Some people suffer horribly, even when working with mild peppers. But, it’s when you use the bathroom or go to take your contacts out that you’ll realize just how valuable those gloves are.

Start with Small Quantities – If a recipe calls for two teaspoons of super hot sauce, you should begin with a half teaspoon (maybe just a single one if you’re adamant). This is especially true if you substitute hot sauces. The composition of hot sauces will change as it cooks, and recipes that call for hot sauces will typically only work perfectly with that hot sauce. It doesn’t mean you can substitute, only that you’ll have to do a little more on the tasting front.

Consider the Other Ingredients – If you’re making a cocktail with hot sauce, you should know honey balances the heat naturally. The same principle applies when cooking. If you add a pinch of sugar, you’ll draw the chili flavor forward and push the chili heat backward. The other ingredients you use will change how much hot sauce you use (and what kind too).

Roasting Chilies – If you want to pull as much chili flavor as possible from a pepper, you should consider roasting chilies before using them in your recipes. The physical heat transforms the compounds in peppers, allowing you to get a better idea of the taste. Don’t over roast and char your peppers, unless a recipe specifically calls for it, though – pull your pan out of the oven just before this point.

Adding Hot Sauces – There is no strict rule dictating when you should add hot sauces to your recipe. But, there are a few things you should know. Dishes that feature a sauce (think pasta sauces) usually do well when the hot sauce is added with the other liquid ingredients. Stir-fry meals and those where a small amount of hot sauce is used to coat vegetables will find that more flavor is absorbed if the hot sauce is added during the primary frying or sautéing step.

Of course, it’s all up to you. How and what you cook has everything to do with your preferences. We just want to save you some pain. Quite literally. Oh, and we also wouldn’t mind if you check our recipe page.