Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chipotle And Roasted Garlic Paste

I like putting the butterfly to bed. The whole house is nice and quiet. Sitting in a dark room next to her, holding her soft chubby hand and running fingers through her hair. Listening to the tick tock of the clock, then being disturbed by the whooshing sound of a strange car passing by the house every once in a while. Its nice AND quiet! If you live in a house with a very curious butterfly whose only job during day is to fly around the house in circles until the whole house comes down with her, you know how golden that "nice and quiet" is!

Chipotle Garlic Paste
I barely get a second in my day where I can just sit, close my eyes and think. That nice and quiet is my opportunity when I do nothing but think and get transported to some other place for a while. Yesterday it was a trip to Mexico that we went on an year back. To the stuffy, noisy but colorful streets of Old Puerto Vallarta.

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It was our third day in the city when we finally decided we've had enough sun bathing for our Indian skin so we pulled ourselves out of the beach, strapped the kid to her car seat in our tiny rental and headed to the old town. The hotel employees warned us that the we might find a little too much culture that a tourist can take but we were relentless. Later we were glad that we were. Because I am quite sure that we could never have got a better tasting pork tacos, creamier avocados and more refreshing PiƱa Coladas than anywhere else.

Street food in Mexico
Colorful vendor stallCars hustling on the streets along with pedestrians, tiny shops lined in a row selling everything from pillows to bird cages, old historic church with tall clock tower whose bell would go off every hour to tell us how fast the time is passing. So much color and so much life everywhere.

Kids playing soccer on the streets Spice shopAnd then I saw something which made me jump. I might have shrieked, I am not sure and my family is still too embarrassed to admit. I saw a spice shop! Not your spices-boxed-in-fancy-little-colored-jars kind of a spice shop but the I-can-smell-the-place-from-a-mile kind of spice shop. It was tiny but overflowing with a zillion kinds of spices, half of which I had no idea what they were. I went nuts and bought a little of this, a little of that and couldn't stop until the "better half" gave a stare. I managed to buy some dried chipotle pepper as well. The smokey-and-sweet-yet-carrying-a-punch kind.

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Chipotle
So holding her chubby hands with my eyes closed and brushing her hair with my fingers yesterday, I was thinking of those chipotle peppers. Thinking of ways how I could use them this time. I thought of that chili garlic paste that mummy would always keep in her kitchen just to add an extra punch to any sad dish. I thought why not do it with chipotle pepper and mix them with garlic to make a smokey chipotle garlic paste. Now I do not know about you but there's something about roasted garlic that I love. It must be the aroma or the depth it adds to any dish but there is something.

Roasting garlic
So next morning soon after waking up I got busy with the peppers. Cut them, cleaned them, toasted them, rehydrated them and then pulled out my mortar and pestle. Threw in some roasted garlic with those peppers. Then with a little love and lot more muscle a beauty came out. You can use this paste to spice up any bland dish from a creamy pasta sauce to a simple vegetable stir fry. It also adds so much flavor to meat.Add a little bit of salt to your taste and this can act as a good spread for any bread.
I referred this amazing tutorial by Gourmet food editor Chef Ian to educate myself more about peppers and how to use them.

Ingredients:
16-18 dried chipotle pepper
1 garlic head (bulb)
1/3 cup olive oil +1 teaspoon
4-5 cups water (to rehydrate the peppers)

Method:
Using this video as a reference, I cleaned and prepped my Chipotle peppers. Check it out, you might learn something new about peppers. I know I did.
In order to roast garlic, preheat the oven to 400 deg. F.
To prep the garlic you can either chop about a 1/4" of its top just enough to expose the garlic or cut it into two across its circumference like I did.  I do not think it makes any difference.
Place the exposed side up on a piece of aluminum foil. Pour 1 teaspoon olive oil over it. Bring the two exposed sides back to their place. Tightly wrap the foil making a ball. Place it in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the garlic is soft.
Take it out of the oven. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then either pinch the cloves out of the skin or take it out using a fork.
Now to make a paste you can either use a mortar and pestle or to make things easier you can use your food processor.
Place the garlic and peppers together and grind them into a paste.
Olive oil here is used only for preserving purpose so you can add it after grinding or if using a food processor add it while grinding to help the blades move smoothly.
Place in an air tight container and store in your refrigerator.

Do not forget to check out the giveaway running on the blog. You still have a few days to enter.

35 comments:

  1. Ah, your photos are so amazing, Prerna! Love!

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  2. Mexico is a destination I am dreaming to visit! This post is awesome Prerna. I have some chillies on hand. That should bring some "Mexican" flavours to me for now :)

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    Replies
    1. Oh you should go visit someday. Its gorgeous, colorful and so much culture. And FOOD? OMG!!

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  3. You literally took me to the streets of Mexico with your words :)
    Before jumping to make this I would have to find the right pepper. Over the years our tolerance to hot ones have reduced :(....Wish I could still eat hot chili garlic chutney without tears rolling down my eyes !


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    1. Then this paste is for you Pooja. Its not "hot" as you would think a pepper paste would be, rather it has a tad sweet taste to it and smokey.

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  4. Gorgeous Clicks! I can imagine the flavor chipole pepper would infuse into a dish.

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  5. Such a beautiful post, Preens! Gorgeous pictures. So what exactly do you do to pre the peppers? Clean the veins and remove the seeds? Do you also roast the peppers in the frying pan? x s

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    1. S, check out the video piece that I shared. So basically cut the head of the pepper, then make a long dissection and scoop everything out. Then give it a quick boil in water and then pat the chili dry.

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  6. Hmm, that sounds delicious! REAL chipotle - what a great find. And gorgeous pics, as always :)

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  7. I love anything that involves chipotle. I will definitely be trying this, thanks for sharing!

    Sincerely,
    Happy Valley Chow

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  8. Lovely pictures, lovely memories! Hope you and the family are well. xx

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    1. Doing great Sneh. Thanks! Hope you are keeping well too.

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  9. P I had a roasted garlic post in mind which I shall now abandon because you already made it awesomer with chipotles! Lovely pictures and that beautiful mental image of you stroking butterfly's hair at bedtime! So look forward to your posts!

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  10. Beautiful post..
    Such beautiful memories. .. and of course gorgeous pics. ..
    Lovely

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  11. wonderful post, beautiful memories from sunny Puerto Vallarta and an easy recipe to try!

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  12. Lovely pictures and recipe! I am addicted to garlic, so this paste is definitely for me.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  13. Such beautiful memories, I love garlic , that sounds delicious

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  14. Prerna,
    Have always been intrigued by the chipotle chillies. Got to try them sometime.. Might sound wierd, but not a big fan of too much garlic though ;)
    Got a glimpse of your handwriting in the first shot.. Nice and neat :)
    Mexico pictures compel me to want to travel!

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  15. It sounds very flavorful... yummy! Great recipe!

    I just discovered your blog and browsed through some of your recipes, they all look scrumptious!

    I really enjoy reading your posts :) you have a new follower!

    Michela from Italy

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  16. Love this post, especially the pics. I wanna go to Mexico now!!

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  17. one can never dispute the gastronomical as well as the benefits of garlic.,,good food simply cannot be cooked without underground roots

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  18. What a wonderful trip to Mexico...I would also shriek with excitement over a spice shop. Our husbands are lucky it's not a jewelry shop. :) I also have a little butterfly in my life. :) Beautiful post and photos. :)

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  19. You made me wish for a trip! LOVE the photos and my fav is the one where the kids are playing soccer :)

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  21. I have never thought to do this, what a wonderful idea!!

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  22. I use chipotle in my 5 chile salsa I make with fire roasted tomatoes. It's called Salsa de muchos chiles (Salsa of many chilies)

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  24. Hi just stopped by to tell u that I love ur blog!

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  25. I love your blog so it makes me super happy to see you've visited my local spice shop in Puerto Vallarta...small world hey?!

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  26. Simple to follow steps on how to make roasted garlic paste. Great post and nice snaps too. Restaurants in Chennai

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