A teaspoon of Chili Paste?

I’ve got a dish I want to try that calls for “chili paste”, but only 1 teaspoon of it into about 4 ounces of other ingredients for the topping of 1.25 pounds of fried beef. The flavors of those “other ingredients” are pretty strong so I am assuming the chili paste is adding little flavor other than the heat.

I looked online at the local Safeway and found no “chili paste”, so I need to create this. I’ve looked at a few recipes online that call for reconstituted dried asian chiles (blended and fried in oil), to others that call for the same (or fresh red chiles) with other ingredients that already exist in much greater quantity in the aforementioned “other ingredients” which are all sautéed in oil and then adding the liquids bringing to a boil until thickened.

So I am just thinking a dash of tomato paste, water, red chili flakes and/or ancho powder, and maybe a dash of rice vinegar… I mean it is just a teaspoon needed for 1.25 Lbs of beef coated in 4 ounces of sauce/aromatics.

So like always, I am probably overcomplicating the details of a first try on a recipe, but anybody have a better idea?

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I think you are on the right track and also that you don’t need to worry given the proportions.


Maybe just a couple of shots of sriracha?

There are as many chili pastes as there are Thai, Mexican, Indian et al grandmothers.


Thanks! I did see that as a recommended substitute… my occasional problem with them is the vinegar can be too strong… but given we’re talking about a tsp I doubt that would be a problem.

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What is the recipe? Cultural and other context would help answer the question.

1 1/4 pounds beef, sliced
4 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chili paste
2 tablespoons sweet and sour sauce
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon Shao Hsing cooking wine (or sherry and dash of rice vinegar)
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Heat 4 cups of oil in wok until hot. Carefully add beef and fry until crispy. Remove and drain. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in wok until hot. Add garlic, ginger, green onion and chili paste. Stir fry until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Add crispy beef slices and gently coat pieces in sauce until thickened. Flavor with sesame oil if desired. Remove and serve on platter. Sprinkle with chopped green onion or garnish as desired.

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So it’s Chinese. Does it have a name? Regional provenance?

I’ve got at least 5 Chinese chilli concoctions that could work here, but I wouldn’t use the Sichuan one in a non-Sichuan recipe and so on (unless I was improvising and didn’t particularly care about the added flavor, just the heat).

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Guessing it is a cross of Mandarin and Szechwan.

Sounds like a simplified orange beef. Don’t think it will matter much if you use sriracha, chili garlic paste, or Sichuan chilli paste, but if you have it, the last will lend a slightly funkier flavor.


Great thread! I have soooo many chili pastes!

Would Thai red curry paste work? Pretty sure Safeway sells that.

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Thanks, they do, but I am a bit concerned about adding curry flavor to this dish… especially considering I have never worked with it before or how strong it is.

Here is what I am thinking thus far…
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (crushed in mortar)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp of Grand Marnier (since it is somewhat of an orange dish, adding the kick via a sweet, brandy like, orange liqueur seems like it would actually enhance things - as opposed to a tomato/vinegar base). Again we’re talking about a teaspoon added to 4 oz of other stuff so how could it hurt. (c;


You may want to go in person to your Safeway store – they probably actually DO have chili paste in their “Asian” section but chose not to include in the online inventory. My grocery explained to me that the overhead of keeping their online product lists up to date with size & price & photo for more than 10,000 items they stock means that not everything gets shown. (In my case, the dry SACO buttermilk powder I buy 2-times yearly just didn’t show online but was available in-store).


Love having that around!