One of the most unique food accompaniments from Kerala is the dried buttermilk chile. Why would anyone fry dried chiles? Wouldn’t they be killer hot? Let’s find out how they are made and how they taste…


Fresh long green chiles are soaked in buttermilk and dried repeatedly in the sun.  Since they take a long time to make, cooks in Kerala usually make a huge batch that can be cooked as needed. A pound of chiles should last several months. Also they are usually prepared in the summer when the sun is the hottest and the days are long. Since this is August, now is the time to make them. If you have children at home, this is a fun recipe for them. They can be stored for a long time until you are ready to pop them into hot oil and fry them. 


Buttermilk chiles are usually served with yogurt, plain rice or roti. When mixed in with the yogurt, this vegetarian recipe has a tangy and salty flavor that blends with the yogurt to give it a tasty flavor. As a snack, my husband likes to have a few of them occasionally in the evening with his scotch.


Here is my Indian recipe:



Buttermilk Chiles


Green chiles that have been soaked in buttermilk and dried.

Green chiles that have been soaked in buttermilk and dried.

1 lb green chiles
2 cups buttermilk
2 tbs salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 pinch asafetida


1. After washing and drying the chiles cut a slit down the length of one side of each chile. Do not cut them in half.


2. In a large bowl, mix the cumin, fenugreek, asafetida and salt with the buttermilk.


3. Immerse the chiles in this buttermilk and soak them overnight.


4. Remove the chilies from the buttermilk the next morning and lay them out on a clean kitchen towel to dry in the hot sun. Return the buttermilk mixture to the refrigerator.


5. The same evening, return the chiles to the buttermilk.


6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for 4 more days or until all of the buttermilk has been absorbed into the chiles.


6. Finally, dry the chiles in the sun for 4 more days until they are completely dry.


7. Store in airtight container until ready to use.


8. To prepare, simply fry them in hot oil for a few minutes until they turn dark brown.



– Dried chiles will keep in an airtight container for months. Once fried, they will keep for about a week.


– Take care in handling the raw chiles. You might want to wear disposable gloves to keep the capsaicin off of your hands and out of your eyes.


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