RECIPES | Paprkia is a wonderful thing. I always keep an assortment of types in my pantry at home, mild, hot, and smoked. A few years ago I started buying birds eye chillies and sun drying them to make my own very spicy paprika. It’s so simple to make, with the smell of drying chillies reminding me of my grandparent’s home, where they’d be perpetually sun drying hundreds of chillies.
Birds eye chillies aren’t usually used to make paprika but I love using them for my hot version. I keep the seeds in, so there’s a bit more texture than the fine powder you’d get if you removed the seeds. The result is a wonderful spice that you can use year round. Be warned though, this paprika is extremely hot. You only need the tiniest amount in your cooking to get a real punch. The intensity does, however, tone down over time.
Preparation Time: 2 months / Makes: 1 small jar
- 50 birds eye chillies
- String the chillies together by the stalks, or lie on a raised cooling tray. The important thing is that there’s air flow (you don’t want moisture) and lots of sunlight
- Put the chillies in a place outside where they will be exposed to lots of direct sunlight.
- One month later, you chillies should be quite dry. It really depends on how much sun they are getting. My balcony doesn’t get as much sun as I’d like, so I finish them off in my oven – about 12 hours on the lowest dehumidifier setting does the trick. You want them to be totally dry so that they can be ground.
- Remove the stalks and break the chillies into small enough pieces that they will fit in your spice or coffee grinder. You can also use a pestal and mortar. If you’re reading this recipe, you probably want your paprika very hot but if you want less heat, you can remove the seeds.
- Grind until you’ve got a fine powder. Any bits that are a bit soft and haven’t ground, you can remove and finish off in the oven until they’re dry and able to be ground.
- Put the paprika into an air tight jar. It’ll keep for a long time, but realistically you want to use it within a year so it doesn’t lose all of its potency. A year on, you can make a fresh batch.
I find that 50 chillies is enough to get Lauren and I through a year. You can scale up or down depending on how much you think you’ll use.