Red Chile Sauce

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Dried red chiles can be soaked and pureed to make red chile sauce. It can be used in many ways, including as an enchilada sauce, chicken marinade, or in huevos rancheros.



  1. Wipe chile peppers with a damp cloth to clean. See warning for handling instructions.
  2. Break off stems, and remove seeds.
  3. Soak chili peppers in hot water until softened, about an hour.
  4. Taste the soaking water. If it is bitter, replace it with fresh water.
  5. Puree chili pepper and water mixture in a blender
  6. Heat the oil in a pan, add onion, garlic, and seasonings.
  7. Once the onions are cooked, add the chili puree to the pan.
  8. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. Return mixture to the blender, and puree. See warning.
  10. Pour sauce through a sieve. Use a spoon to stir and press the mixture against the sieve to extract all the sauce.
  11. Add salt to taste. If the sauce is a little bitter, some sugar can be added to compensate.


Makes about 2 cups. Freezes well.

Sauce may stain certain materials, including some plastics. Store in glass to avoid staining.


Use caution when handling chili peppers. Wearing rubber gloves is recommended, and be sure to wash the gloves, and your hands, thoroughly after handling the chili peppers. If rubber gloves are not available, rub some oil onto your hands before handling the chilies. The capsaicin in the chili peppers, the chemical that makes them hot, will burn the eyes, nose, or mouth on contact, and exposed skin if left for long. (but you're planning to eat this...)

Use caution when pureeing hot liquids in a blender. The hot liquid can spill out the top of the blender. Either allow the sauce to cool first, or hold the lid in place during blending, using a towel or oven glove to protect your hand. Only fill the blender half full, do multiple batches if required.