Bird’s eye chillies are really hot. And sometimes when you buy a whole packet, you’re not able to finish all of them on time. What I like to do before they start rotting is dry them thoroughly and then grind them into powder. My mother used to do this so she can bring some sort of chilli with her on her business trips. She can’t do without her chilli. But I think she stopped travelling with them because immigration might consider it a terrorist weapon. 😛
You really don’t need anything else, just chillies and hot sun. Even my husband was intrigued by this condiment cause it’s so unheard of. Normal chilli powder, yes…normal chilli flakes, yes…but not these super-hot stuff. You can use the oven to speed up the drying process but I find that roasting the chillies will add a smoky flavour. I want to retain the chillies’ natural spiciness so I opt for natural heat.
And mind you, they are really hot. You should always handle them with care and if your skin is sensitive to chillies, wear gloves during the de-seeding and grinding process. I’ll even go to the extent of asking you to wear a face mask because if this potent powder gets into your nose, wasabi would seem like child’s play.
This whole process might take some time and patience, as with anything that is homemade. But I have had rave reviews on people who tried this stuff as they sprinkled the powder on their fried rice, soupy noodles or even spaghetti sauces. Of course, these people are avid chilli lovers.
When you start the drying process, do not cut the stems off the chillies. Leave it on to prevent rotting or bugs getting inside the fruit. I learned this the hard way. I had to throw away my first tray because of insects. You need to dry them till they’re absolutely shrivelled. They have to be quite hard that when you bend them, it’ll snap. You can see from the pictures below how they look when they’re really dry.
When the chillies are ready, use scissors to cut off the stems and let the seeds fall out naturally. Don’t bother if there are still some seeds left in the chillies. They’ll all be blended to fine powder anyway. Put the dry chillies in a spice blender or coffee blender and let it rip till you have fine, powdery flakes. If you like them quite flaky, don’t blend too much. Keep them in old spice jars with a shaker top and they will keep for months. Use on anything that needs a spicy kick!