You may notice that I like using chilli flakes in my recipes! Adding a little chilli to our food whether fresh or dried is so good for us. For me, its the intense little bursts of heat that chilli can give a recipe that I love!
Chilli flakes are crushed dried chillies whereas chilli powder is made from dried chillies which are then ground down into a fine powder. When the chillies are dried the flesh turns a lovely intense orangey red, so the flakes add a great splash of colour to whatever you’re cooking. Don’t worry about the seeds, they’re not as fiery as you might think. This is because the seeds are not actually the hottest part of the chilli, but it’s in fact the white membranes that attach the seeds to the flesh that contains the heat. The great thing is, you can add a little at first and if you’d like to turn up the heat then just sprinkle over a little more!
I often add chilli flakes to roasting vegetables or sprinkle a pinch over a salad for a little extra spice, they’re especially good in lentil and bean salads. Equally good in marinades, they add a really delicious flavour when mixed with coriander seeds as a rub for a barbecued leg of lamb or dress a bowl of chargrilled vegetables with some chilli flakes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Try them as a garnish, sprinkled over some humous with a little olive oil or over freshly cooked asparagus with lemon oil and shavings of Parmesan cheese.
I know how frustrating it can be to buy an ingredient only to find you need it for one recipe after which it sits on the shelf slowly going past its sell by date. Well I’ve never had that problem with a jar of chilli flakes! I really think they’re a perfect store cupboard ingredient. You can find them with the dried herbs and spices in most supermarkets or you could think about drying some chillies yourself and crushing them in a pestle and mortar. Store them in an airtight jar to keep in the flavour.
When you want to add a touch of heat to a recipe and you don’t have any fresh chillies in the fridge and using chilli powder would add a rather disappointing powdery dusting, thats the time to use dried chilli flakes. Over the coming months I will be adding many more tasty recipes using chilli flakes so look out for them by clicking the tag for ‘chilli flakes’ on the sidebar or typing it into the search box! But for now you can find them in these recent recipe posts; Mozzarella, Parma Ham & Mango Salad (pictured left), Quinoa, Feta & Pomegranate Salad (top right) and my Parmesan Crisps (bottom right)