By Eezra klein
My friends, it is time for a revolution. The old ways are no good. The false idols must fall. The future must step forward. I’m talking, of course, about red chili flakes. Those little bits of crushed dried chili that provide something approximating heat, but nothing even approximating flavor, for millions of Americans.
Stop. Throw them out. Or at least shove them to the back of the cupboard. Just as you moved on from black pepper to black pepper corns, and pre-made tomato sauce to canned tomatoes, it is time to recognize that crushed stuff doesn’t retain flavor. It is time to move to whole, dried red chilis.
You can get them in almost any grocery store. Sometimes they’re offered cheaply in the Mexican or Asian foods aisle. Sometimes they’re elsewhere. They’re worth it. Put them in when you begin warming the fat for your sauce or your braise. Five or six will do it if you like heat. Two or three will do it if you just want a slight smokey note beneath the dish. Either way, you’ll get real flavor out of them, not just spice, and some dishes will be utterly transformed.