Capture Spicy Moments On The Spot: Making Red Chile

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Now that the holiday season is upon us it seems that I am happily spending more and more time in the kitchen. Every year around this time I make a huge amount of tamales (about 25 dozen), and that calls for 2 days of preparation prior to actually spreading the first tamale. I need to run around and buy corn husks, chiles, meat, cheese, olives, masa etc., etc. Once all supplies are purchased, comes the boiling, frying, roasting, and chopping. This is a serious 3-day commitment (now you know why I only do it once a year!) Each time I swear I will never do it again, until December rolls around again and the ritual starts all over. Yesterday marked the 1st of December and in a true winter fashion I was making tamales.

It used to be that food and technology didn’t really go hand in hand, but my, how things have changed! People now take photos of their food every chance they get. I am no exception to this rule. I have the new Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone and the photos it captures are so beautiful…. The phone comes with a camera installed called the pro camera and it is packed with 41 megapixels (yes, you read that right). It also allows you to adjust shutter speed, focus, and white balance. It’s an amazing camera that is seriously as advanced as a handheld. Plus, with the Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone Camera Grip and Extra Battery,  you’ll never take another blurry shot or run out of juice prematurely again! It makes capturing my cooking process so much easier, not to mention exciting. I can easily share an HD video of the chile making process with a friend across town, or take a picture of what chiles I bought so she can do the same. Food and technology are happily meeting in my kitchen this holiday season, and I don’t think it will end there! In fact, I took it a step further and placed my red chile for tamales on Bing Food & Drink app that can be found on the Surface or any Windows 8.1 device. It allows you to upload your own recipe to the collection of recipes already on the site. So when people are looking for a dish they can type it into the search bar and the app will pull from the collection… and who knows my red chile recipe for tamales may be the one they are looking for.

  • Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone In Action 1 of 10
    41 pixels

    Excuse me while I adjust the ISO here. This pro camera comes with all the bells and whistles anyone could ever dream of. It allows you to adjust shutter speed, focus, and white balance. Take a professional looking photo by setting the camera on auto for those friends getting to know the camera. 

  • The Onion 2 of 10

    This may seem a little strange, but before you cook the chile, you need to fill a large pot to the halfway point with water, add salt, and an entire onion. Some people peel the outer layers off, some just drop the onion in skin and all. 

  • Boiling Onion 3 of 10
    onion in water

    Drop the onion into the water and bring to a boil. This onion gives the water a savory flavor without overpowering it. Continue boiling for about 10 minutes. 

  • Dried Chiles 4 of 10
    dried chiles

    I buy a variety of red chiles. New Mexico, California, and Ancho. I sniff the chiles before I can even get them out of the bag. I inhale the memories their scent brings me and exhale the pure satisfaction I know they will be as a red chile. 

  • Boil The Chiles 5 of 10
    boiling chiles

    Dump all the chiles into the boiling hot water and boil for 40 minutes. Remove from flame and allow chiles to sit in the pot with the hot water for an additional 20 minutes. Discard the onion, but do not throw out the water. 

  • Blender 6 of 10
    stems removed

    Remove all the stems and place chiles in a blender with garlic cloves and a cup or two of water (from boiled chiles). Blend until smooth. Then pour chile sauce through sieve. 

  • Smooth Red Chile 7 of 10
    chile bowl

    Collect red chile in a bowl and wrap the top with plastic wrap. Then either let it come to room temperature or chill in fridge. The chile may become soft and jelly-like, which is perfectly fine. Now you are ready to make tamales. 

  • Overhead 8 of 10

    I usually use my red chile in a vegetarian tamale. Or I will make the red chile and spice the masa with it. It also works if you have shredded pork or beef as a filling for the tamales. Simply mix the red chile in and it makes for a delightful savory flavor. This is not a hot chile sauce, just an extremely tasty red chile sauce. It can also be used for enchilada sauce.


  • Freezer 9 of 10

    I assemble the tamales, then wrap them raw and place them in the freezer until I am ready to steam them. Enjoy!

  • Bing Food & Drink 10 of 10

    Of course I had to take a picture of the first recipe I uploaded to Bing Food & Drink. It's the coolest app ever and I am just giddy to post my recipes there into my collection. It was super easy too, I just copied the text  and uploaded an image from my phone to go with the recipe.  Happy tamale making everyone. 


*All photos for this post were taken with the Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone, except for the photo of the actual phone taking a picture of the chiles.

Ingredients for red chile for tamales:

  • 9 – cups water
  • 3 – tablespoons salt
  • 1 – onion
  • 3 – ounces dried California chiles (I used Don Enrique)
  • 3 – ounces dried New Mexico chiles (I used Don Enrique)
  • 1 – dried ancho chile (I used Don Enrique)
  • 5 – garlic cloves


  1. In a large pot over a medium high flame add in water, salt and onion. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add in all chiles to water and cover with lid. Let boil for 40 minutes.
  3. Remove from flame, and allow chiles to sit in hot water for an additional 20 minutes.
  4. Remove stems from chiles and add to a blender along with garlic cloves and a cup of water from chiles boiled. This will have to be done at least twice. Adding a cup of water each time you blend.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Pour chile sauce into sieve and with a wooden spoon scrape the edges so the sauce can pass through, and collect in a bowl. This is an important step if you want to discard any chile skin or seeds.
  7. Once chile is in the bowl, season with salt to taste.
  8. Enjoy!

For more recipes from Nicole Presley click over to her blog: Presley’s Pantry 

Get social with Nicole on Twitter and Facebook.

Nicole loves pinning. Follow her on Pinterest.

Article Posted 2 years Ago
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