Indonesian Chile Paste (Sambal Badjak)

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This recipe and others can be found in the 12-part illustrated series “A World of Curries”. You can read all about this unique Indian flavor here.



8 to 10 fresh red chiles, such as serrano or jalapeño, seeds and stems removed
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon shrimp paste or prawn paste
5 candlenuts (or substitute macadamia nuts or cashews)
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1 small piece galangal, peeled and chopped (or substitute ginger)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves, crushed
1 cup thick coconut milk, recipe here    


In a food processor or blender, combine the chiles, onions, garlic, shrimp paste, nuts, tamarind concentrate, and galangal, and puree to a fine paste.

Sautee the paste in the oil until aromatic, about 3 to 4 minutes, add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.

Sichuan Red Chile Oil

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Here is a quick and easy way to make a versatile chile oil that can be used in stir-fry, as a salad dressing, or as a spicy topping for all grilled meats. Sichuan pepper (fagara) are the spicy seeds from a native bush. Eliminate the Sichuan pepper if you can’t find it.


2/3 cup dried red chile pepper pods, coarsely chopped
2 cups cooking oil
2 tablespoons Sichuan pepper, crushed


In a saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat, then add the chile pieces. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Sichuan pepper and allow to cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Do not let the oil get too hot or it will scorch the chiles. When the oil turns red, remove it from the heat and allow to cool. Filter out the solid material using a sieve and cheesecloth, and reserve the red oil.

This oil can be stored in a glass bottle in the refrigerator and used as an all-purpose seasoning.

Ethiopian Green Chile Paste (T iqur Qarya Awaze)

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This is the green chile counterpart to Ethiopian Berbere, but there are some differences.  It’s green, it’s much milder, and instead of placing it in stews, it’s a condiment or dip for breads and meats.


  • 2 bell peppers, seeds and stems removed, chopped
  • 3 jalepeno chiles, seeds and stems removed, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup vegtable oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro or Italian parsely
  • 1/2 teaspoon Holy Basil
  • Water as needed



In a skillet, combine the bell peppers, jalapenos, garlic ginger and oil, and saute until the bell peppers are tentder, about 15 minutes.  Drain the oil off and place the peppers in a blender.  Add the cardamon, cilantro, holy basil and puree.  Add enough water to make a thin paste.

Pastel de Choclo (Chilean Meat Pie)

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This delicious, spicy dish only needs a large green salad, sliced tomatoes, a baked potato, and a Chilean wine to create a feast. We have used lean, ground beef in this recipe, but coarsely ground chicken, rabbit, or pork could also be used.


  • 1 ½ pounds coarsely ground lean beef

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 large dried ají chile pod, crushed, or substitute New Mexican

  • ½ teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon oregano

  • 10 black olives, cut in half

  • 2 cups fresh corn

  • 1 tablespoon milk

  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


In a heavy skillet, brown the meat, drain, and put it into a bowl. Add the oil to the skillet, and saute the onion, and add the chile, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and oregano; add the sauteed mixture to the meat and mix. Then pack the meat mixture into a shallow 3 to 4 quart overproof casserole, and arrange the olives over the top.

Put the corn in a blender with the milk, ½ teaspoon of the sugar, and puree the corn. Heat the oil in a skillet, add the pureed corn, and simmer the corn, stirring, until the puree thickens. Pour this mixture over the meat mixture and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Bake in a 350°F oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the top is golden.


Pasta with Garlic, Olive Oil and Chiles

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Note the lack of tomatoes in this pasta. The dish depends heavily upon the flavor of the chiles.


• ¼ cup Olive oil

• 2 small chile pods, red, hot (Thai , Serrano or Birdseye), seeds and stems removed, finely chopped

• ¼ cup finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

• 4 to 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

• 1 pound Spaghetti pasta

• Salt to taste


Heat the olive oil in a large pan and add the chiles, parsley, and garlic. Cook until the garlic is soft.

Meanwhile, in lightly salted water, cook the pasta “al dente,” according to instructions on the package.

Strain the pasta well. Add the pasta to the mixture in the pan, mix well and let sit for a few minutes for the flavors to blend. Add salt to taste. Serve hot.