Recipe: fresh Filipino chili paste

This recipe makes a strong, hot, and flavorful seasoning paste, similar to a chili or curry paste, that can be used for Filipino or other Asian cooking. I’ve adapted it from the original in The Filipino-American Kitchen, making it fit the seasonal ingredients we have on hand. Even cutting out a few authentic ingredients like fish sauce and shrimp paste, it works nicely as a flavoring or dipping sauce.

The original calls for garlic cloves & green onions, which is fine, but I find that using garlic & onion chives instead works quite nicely to produce a smooth, green paste. And at this time of the year it’s more seasonal, and is a great way to use lots of chives if you have them on hand.

1 big bunch garlic chives (maybe a few ounces?) or a couple garlic cloves
1-2 tsp grated ginger
1 equal bunch onion chives (or minced green onion)
1 dried or fresh Thai chili pepper (adjust to taste)
1 tsp sugar
2 tbl olive oil
1-2 tsp soy sauce

Mince whatever combination of chives/garlic/onions you’re using, along with the hot pepper. Grind in a large mortar & pestle until crushed into goo, then add the other ingredients and grind more until you have a smooth paste. I suppose this could be done in a small blender as well, though I haven’t tried it (I like the crushed texture of this method).

At this point you can taste the base flavor and add anything else you want, like curry powder, other herbs, other sauces, etc. It should be a strong, garlicky paste with some heat to it.

I’ve used this to flavor various sauces, and it could also be a nice dipping sauce for spring rolls, shrimp, and more. The original recipe calls for cooking chicken in the paste and combining with rice. Use your imagination.

I most recently used it to flavor a tomato/edamame sauce, which I combined with rice & marinated meat in my lumpiang (Filipino egg rolls):

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