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Indian Green Chili Paste

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Green Chili Paste is a puree of green chilis used as an ingredient in many dishes, from papdi no lot to dhokla and handvo. It is a convenience, saving you from having to chop or blend chilies every time you want to cook some Indian food. I use it frequently to add to foods like shaaks,, curries, and dals to add a little spice.

Having this green chili paste on hand is convenient for making papdi no lot super simple. It’s also something you can use with handvo or dhokla. Instead of blending the chili with the ginger, you can use ginger paste + chili paste. It’s a nice thing to have on hand.

Green chili paste in a bowl

Making chili paste is a must-know technique for making your life a little easier when cooking Indian food. It can definitely be applied to dishes beyond Indian food as well. I have used chili paste when making taco meat, pico de gallo, or other salsas. It is also good to add some spice to Italian sauces. The list goes on.

One trick is to freeze it in teaspoon proportions so you don’t have to measure it. Making chili paste and freezing it is a great way to ensure your chilies never go to waste.

Oil vs Water

Ingredients of green chili paste
Ingredients: green chilies, oil, and salt.

In “Salt Fat Acid Heat,” Samin Nosrat describes fat as a carrier of spice. Since spices are found in oils, the flavor compounds are easily distributed in oil. Chilies are no exception. The heat of chilies comes from capsaicin, which is an oil-soluble component.

That said, as I was growing up, fat was being demonized in the mainstream and until recently, I typically made this paste with water. It works nearly as well as oil.

Chunks of green chili paste in a bowl
These little green shards are what my green chili paste looks like after it has been frozen and scored. Each piece is about 1/2 tsp.

To Blend or Mash

You can make green chili paste with a blender or a mortar and pestle. You could even microplane the chilies or use a knife, which I do when I need small quantities. 

I would consider the mortar and pestle the more traditional way to make it since that is how my grandmother did it. My grandmother only made small quantities of chili paste, as needed, because refrigerators did not become common until later in her life.

The blender is a more modern convenience and saves a lot of effort if you are making enough.


  • Don’t use too much water or oil, use as little as you can get away with to form a paste
  • Make sure the chilies are very clean if you will keep this to use for a while. Any contaminants on the chilies could cause them to spoil early.
  • Be sure to remove all of the stems from the chilies
  • You can use water instead of oil. Although oil is a better carrier of capsaicin, water will also form a paste.


The best way to store the green chili paste that you have made is in the freezer. It will keep for about six months without any issues. Some people like to store them in miniature ice cube trays that apportion 1 teaspoon amount, which is very handy for using a measured amount.

I lost my ice cube tray in a move a long time ago and never replaced it. I prefer to add the chili paste to a plastic bag. I freeze the chili paste for about an hour or two so that it has started to solidify but is still malleable, then I fold the chili paste to score it. I am not very precise about the measurements because chilies always need to be added by taste since they will vary greatly in heat level depending on where you got them and what time of year.

Green chili paste in a bowl

Indian Green Chili Paste

Apuree of green chilis used as an ingredient in many dishes, from papdi no lot to dhokla and handvo.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Spices
Cuisine Indian
Servings 16
Calories 6 kcal


  • Blender optional
  • Mortar and pestle optional


  • 250 g Green chilies (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • tsp salt


  • Wash chilies well and dry completely. Remove the stems from the chilies.
  • Roughly chop or snap the chilies into half and add to the blender.
  • Add oil as needed and salt to taste. Blend to a paste.



Calories: 6kcalCarbohydrates: 1gFat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gTrans Fat: 0.001gSodium: 70mgPotassium: 0.004mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 0.01mg
Keyword chilies, green chili paste
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Categorized as Spices

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