Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thai Roasted Chili Paste + A Stir Fry

All right. I owe a big apology to everyone.  I think this is my second post in the past 2 months.  I never thought that blogging would get away from me like it has.  I've had a few changes in my life recently, including some house-related hiccups, Dave moving to a farm, and my tripod breaking in half.  Unfortunately, it all added up to me neglecting my blog. 

Finally, life has settled down quite a bit. Our house is (mostly) put back together and Dave's farm internship is super cool and exciting.  My tripod is still very broken, but I'm on the lookout for a new, used one. Also, I've been dedicating some of my time to a Pacific NW gardening newsletter that is mostly Dave's brain and partially my editing. If anyone in the NW is interested, I will gladly add you to the email list. 

Anyway, on to the point of this post.  A couple of years ago I bought a Thai cookbook and played around with a few of the recipes.  This roasted chili paste is one of my favorites because of its deep and layered flavor.  Plus, you can pretty much throw anything in a pan with it. My favorite combination is a stir fry of ground chicken and asparagus topped with a fried egg.

Last month when things were shifting around at my house, I thought it'd be a good idea to clear out some of last summer's harvest from our freezer.  We have quite a variety of frozen food, but green beans definitely dominate the space.  A simply stir fry was the perfect solution to using up some of the surplus. If you don't have an overload of green beans like we do, then I'd recommend using asparagus for the stir fry since it's in season right now.

This recipe doesn't make a lot of chili paste, but with its heat you will only need a tad for each stir fry.  Plus, it'll last for a couple of months in the fridge.

Thai Roasted Chili Paste
from Real Thai

yields about 1 cup

about 1/2 cup dried red chilis (thai or another dried red chili)
1/2 cup shallots (about 4 large segments), unpeeled
6 to 7 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil

Slice each shallot and garlic clove lengthwise.  Do not remove peels. In a wok or heavy saucepan, dry roast the chilies stirring occasionally, until darkened but not black, about 5 minutes.  Remove from pan.

Add shallots and garlic to pan.  Dry roast on all sides until skins just begin to char and blister, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Once the chilies are cool to the touch, remove stems and seeds.  Peel garlic and shallots.  Blend chilies, shallots, and garlic in a blender or food processor until almost a smooth paste.  You may need to add a bit of the oil to help blend everything.

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the chili paste and fry, stirring regularly, until the paste is dark red and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Store in a well-sealed glass jar in the fridge.

Thai Stir Fried Green Beans

If you're looking for a heartier meal, top with a fried or slow poached egg.  Also, ground pork or chicken can be thrown in to cook before the vegetables. 

Like most stir fries, this one comes together very quickly.  I recommend having all of your ingredients prepped and close at hand when you're ready to start.

Thai Stir Fried Green Beans
adapted from Real Thai

Yields 3 to 4 servings

3 Tbsp oil
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
2 Tbsp roasted chili paste
3 cups green beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 Tbsp fish sauce 

Heat up 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or large cast iron skillet on medium-high heat for about 1 minute, or until very hot. Add garlic and fry for about 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the onion and continue to fry until onion is almost translucent, about 1 minute. Add the paste and stir to combine. Throw in the last tablespoon of oil. Add the green beans and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the fish sauce and stir-fry until the beans are almost tender.  Quickly remove from pan and serve.


  1. Keep writing your blog - it's a beautiful one.

  2. Thanks Karen! I'm so glad you checked out the blog!

  3. I tried this last week and the taste of it is really awesome! I wish I could always find inviting and tasty recipes like this. Anyway, thank you for sharing!

    Easy Stir Fry