These dried bird’s eye chiles are wickedly easy to make. And homemade ones are just so fresh and fragrant compared to most store bought dried chiles that have most likely been on the shelves for months on end. I decided to try and make my own dried chiles for the first time because I impulsively purchased two kilos(!) of fresh chiles at the Nasugbu market when the vendor asked on PHP40 a kilo for the most amazing looking chiles.
It was a clear day with sweltering sunlight, so I placed some of the chiles in an old pan which has lost its tin layer and lay them out on our hot driveway in direct sunlight. I figured I could dry these out in a day or two at most… Until the clouds rapidly turned grey a couple of hours later and it started to rain. So I stuck the chilies on a pizza pan and put them into an oven set at 200F for about 4 hours and the bright red chilies turned a wonderfully rich burgundy color, and the aroma in the kitchen was intoxicating!
These should last several months but I suspect they are best used within a month or two of making them as they have the potency and fragrance that is the single best advantage of making your own. You can add these to stews, chop them up and add them to any dish requiring a bit of zing, or you can roughly blitz them in a blender or food processor some homemade dried chile flakes.