Asian Chiles

Asian Chilis
Asian Chilis

Be careful when working with hot chiles! If you’re not used to cooking with them, wear gloves when chopping them. Some people who are sensitive to them can get contact burns from touching them. Either way, do not touch your face or eyes while working with them.

After chopping, be sure to carefully wash your hands before doing anything else. Just water and hand soap doesn’t always do the trick—the heat is in the oil of the peppers—so use dish soap or rubbing alcohol.

If you do get burned, the most soothing thing is milk or yogurt, applied directly on the skin.

These chilies are best used fresh but they can be eaten dried as well. You can even freeze them. These chilies are very hot, so be careful not to touch your eyes when handling them. If they do cause a burning feeling treat it with some milk. The hottest part fo the chili is close to the stem and in the seeds so removing these parts can lessen the heat. Chilies are traditionally eaten with every meal and are also used to make fish paste.

TIP: Thread a needle and string through each chili to make a chili strand. Hang the strand somewhere in your pantry or kitchen to dry. Once dried, store the chilies in a jar. Now you can use them one by one throughout the year!


Momofuku Fish Sauce Vinaigrette


Everything can be adjusted to taste. I went with a very light hand with the sugar and juice from only half a lime. (Maybe my limes were bigger than normal?) In his cookbook, David Chang says that this version is lighter and sweeter than whatever his Vietnamese chef’s mother makes.

You can toss roasted broccoli with it or you can add it to olive or sesame oil and use it as a dressing for radish or lettuce salad. I put it on romaine lettuce the other night and it was spectacular! I look forward to using it on any and all vegetables.

makes about 1 cup

will keep in fridge for one week


– 1/2 cup fish sauce

– 1/4 cup water

– 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or apple cider if that’s what you have)

– juice of 1 lime

– 1/4 cup sugar (or honey to taste)

– 1 garlic clove, minced

– 1-3 small hot chiles, finely sliced (fresh if possible, but dried are also fine)


Combine the fish sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, garlic and chilies in a jar.

This vinaigrette will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. Supposedly. When you start taking little sips of it straight from the jar with a teaspoon every once in a while, it doesn’t last that long.