If you're a fan of spicy food, you'll want to keep one or two jars of chili paste in your pantry. This condiment is made out of red chilies, and different cultures have their own unique recipes. It's convenient to keep on hand, especially when you only have a little time to cook but still want a delicious meal. Just a spoonful will give your dish a fiery kick and another layer of flavor!
So, we searched the internet to find the most delicious chili pastes available. Our favorite is Chung Jung One's Gochujang Hot Pepper Paste. Made with a combination of tapioca syrup, water, brown rice, and red pepper powder, it will help you recreate authentic Korean dishes. There are many other products in our top 10 list that cater to different cuisines like Indonesian, Indian, and Thai. Check out our buying guide for helpful information, too!
If you're finding it hard to choose a chili paste, don't worry! Let us show you our top picks. We've chosen these products based on reviewer satisfaction as well as their heat level and unique ingredients. So, take a look to see if anything grabs your interest.
|Heat level||Mild to medium|
|Main ingredients||Tapioca syrup, water, brown rice, red pepper powder|
|Heat level||Mild to medium|
|Main ingredients||Dehydrated paprika and red chili peppers, sunflower oil, garlic, salt, mixed spices, rose petals|
|Amount||4 oz. each|
|Main ingredients||Red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, salt, shallot, coriander root, kaffir lime peel|
|Amount||18 oz. each|
|Main ingredients||Chili, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar|
|Main ingredients||Red chili, broad bean, wheat flour, salt, vegetable oil, spice|
|Heat level||Mild to medium|
|Main ingredients||Tomatoes, garlic, ground Indian chiles and spices, tamarind, sesame oil, cane sugar|
|Main ingredients||Dried shiitake, sesame paste, brown sugar, soy sauce, dried onion, fermented black beans, dried chili pepper|
|Main ingredients||Olive oil, chili peppers, salt|
|Main ingredients||Hot Calabrian peppers, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt|
|Main ingredients||Soybean oil, chili, onion, sichuan pepper powder|
Chung Jung One
Lao Gan Ma
Gochujang Hot Pepper Paste
Red Curry Paste
Chili Garlic Sauce
Sichuan Pixian Broad Bean Paste with Red Chili Oil
Achaar Indian Chili Sauce
Vegan All-Purpose Chili Oil Sauce
Chili Pepper Paste
Calabrian Hot Pepper Paste
Spicy Chili Crisp
Gochujang Sauce Helps You Recreate Authentic Korean Dishes
Harissa Sauce With a Floral Note
Red Curry Paste With a Mild Spice Level
Chunky Chili Sauce With a Robust Garlic Flavor
Chili Paste With a Rich Fermented Bean Flavor
Ground Indian Chilies and Tomatoes for a Tangy, Earthy Flavor
Vegan Chili Sauce With Shiitake Mushrooms
Hot Chili Pepper Paste in a Convenient Tube
Calabrian Hot Chili Peppers Great for a Variety of Dishes
Hot Sauce With Soybeans and Crispy Chili Pieces
|Amount||17.6 oz.||5.99 oz.||4 oz. each||18 oz. each||17.6 oz.||9 oz.||7.75 oz.||3.2 oz.||6.7 oz.||7.41 oz.|
|Heat level||Mild to medium||Mild to medium||Mild||Medium||Hot||Mild to medium||Medium||Hot||Hot||Medium|
|Main ingredients||Tapioca syrup, water, brown rice, red pepper powder||Dehydrated paprika and red chili peppers, sunflower oil, garlic, salt, mixed spices, rose petals||Red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, salt, shallot, coriander root, kaffir lime peel||Chili, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar||Red chili, broad bean, wheat flour, salt, vegetable oil, spice||Tomatoes, garlic, ground Indian chiles and spices, tamarind, sesame oil, cane sugar||Dried shiitake, sesame paste, brown sugar, soy sauce, dried onion, fermented black beans, dried chili pepper||Olive oil, chili peppers, salt||Hot Calabrian peppers, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt||Soybean oil, chili, onion, sichuan pepper powder|
Now that you know our top picks, it's time to move on to the selection process. In this buying guide, we've laid out some crucial points to take into consideration before making your final choice. For example, you'll want to think about your spice tolerance and the consistency of the paste.
The first factor to keep in mind is your heat tolerance level. Most people want something that will give their food a kick without giving them a hard time. But, everyone has a different tolerance, and it's hard to know exactly how spicy a sauce is just from reading the product's description.
However, you can rely on the Scoville scale. This scale measures the pungency of chili peppers or sauces; it goes from zero units, like sweet bell peppers, to 16 billion units. Typically, hot sauces fall between 100 to 8,000 units. Sriracha is approximately 1,000 to 2,500 units. Meanwhile, Tabasco sauce is around 2,500 to 5,000 units.
It's also useful to know that chili pastes usually don't contain a lot of extra ingredients such as oil, vinegar, sugar, and flour. Of course, if you find a sauce to be too spicy, you can always dilute it with some liquid.
Besides chili peppers, chili pastes often have other ingredients that might enhance or lessen the spice level. If you want stronger spices, you might want to look for ingredients such as black pepper powder, paprika powder, garlic, and the like.
Products that contain sugar, syrup, oil, vinegar, or any other non-pepper ingredients tend to have a mild spice profile. But, they still add depth to the flavor of your sauce. For example, olive or sunflower oil gives the sauce extra richness; sugar and syrup will deliver a touch of sweetness that will create a nice contrast to savory dishes.
There are various spicy-food cultures in the world, and each of them has a unique hot sauce. If you're addicted to spicy foods, you won't want to miss out on these regional specialties!
If you love spicy Chinese foods like mapo tofu (spicy tofu stir-fry) or hot pot, you'll want to get a hot chili paste. A Chinese chili sauce is usually made from dried chilies, oil, Sichuan peppercorns, and fermented soybeans to deliver a rich, spicy flavor that is likely to make your mouth go numb.
If you're a fan of Korean dishes, you definitely have to equip your pantry with a gochujang, a Korean chili paste made from sugar, rice flour, chili pepper powder, and enzymes. This sauce has a bold, slightly sweet taste that is a great condiment for meat, veggie, or rice dishes like bibimbap or tteokbokki (stir-fried rice cakes).
Looking for something to jazz up pasta or pizza? Try Calabrian chili sauce! It's made with chili peppers grown in Calabria, a region in Southwest Italy, and it will infuse your food with an Italian flavor. Trying to make some spicy Thai curry? There are definitely some Thai chili pastes on the market that will help you do so.
So, consider the regional dishes that you want to create or the regional spicy flavor that you love to choose a chili sauce that can help you whip up something authentic!
If you're looking for a versatile chili sauce that works for a variety of dishes and won't overpower the flavor of your food, you might want to search for a simple chili sauce with basic ingredients such as chili pepper, chili powder, garlic, salt, and sugar.
Meanwhile, if you want a bold, unique flavor that will liven up plain dishes like rice and pasta, chili pastes infused with herbs or strong spices like cumin and star anise are great choices. Some products are also blended with veggies and nuts to give your dishes a special touch.
You can also check the reviews to see what pairings people recommend! Reviewers are often happy to share what dishes they used their chili paste with.
Depending on the ingredients, the texture of a chili paste can vary from chunky to smooth. If you prefer a smooth sauce, make sure that all the ingredients in your product are properly blended.
But for those who love a chunky texture, you might want to go for a sauce crafted with crispy bits of chilies or chunks of other ingredients like garlic, soybeans, or dehydrated veggies.
Chili sauces often come in glass or plastic containers. Plastic containers are less likely to break during shipment, but you should make sure that they're free from BPA. This chemical is commonly found in plastic and has been shown to be an endocrine disruptor.
Glass jars are a bit more expensive, but they don't contain harmful chemicals like BPA and are generally safe to use. You can also reuse them afterward!
For those who are addicted to spices, you might want to stock up chill pastes that come in squeeze tubes. Tubes are quite small and are convenient to bring on the go, so you can enjoy chili sauce wherever you are.
If you love spicy foods, we have a few suggestions for you! Check out our articles for some spicy snacks that will surely satisfy your cravings for heat.
It might seem tough trying to find a good product that meets your needs on the market, but we hope you feel much more prepared with our tips. Just remember to take into consideration your heat tolerance and the regional dishes that you want to create. You'll be glad you added this spicy condiment to your pantry!
Author: Thuy Nguyen
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