HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


What green chiles are used in Chinese cooking?

It's driving me nutso! I've Googled it without any real definite result. I keep getting Mexican food answers, which are clearly not what I want.

As it note, if it works for you, you may be interested to know that Google results are not always the same for everyone (more on that in their official announcement):

So anyway, I have looked at this recipe:

and this recipe:

... and neither say what kind of chiles they are.

Am I to assume that it really doesn't matter, so long as they are green and they are chiles? Or are they specific (yet not specified) chile types?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Usu. either serranos or Thai chili (aka Thai bird chili or prik chi fa) are used when a recipe calls for "green chili".

    Green chili peppers are added for their heat, and not necessarily just for color or sweetness, which is why green chili peppers like poblanos are not used.

    Hope that helps.

    Pic below of Thai chili.

    1 Reply
    1. There first recipe is from an Indian source. It only calls for 1tsp of finely chopped green chiles. Any small hot green one would work. Note the recipe also calls for bell peppers (capsicum).

      The second says 'It can be made either spicy or mild according to the variety of the green chili pepper used.' The pictured ones are similar to large green ones that I see in a Korean grocery. But the recipe should work just as well for mild Anaheims or hot Hatch green chiles.

      These are very different uses of chiles - one where they provide the heat, and other they are the main item.

      4 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        Yes, that first one is at an Indian site, but the recipe is Chinese according to the source at the bottom of the page. Also, the Schezuan sauce ingredient is another clue. It appears to match various standard Chinese spicy garlic recipes that I found online, since I too was wondering about that. It sounds so good though, doesn't it?

        That said thanks for the pepper tips. I've not heard of hatch chiles, I'll have to check that one out. :)

        1. re: magnoliasouth

          There is such a thing as Indian-Chinese cooking - i.e. Chinese dishes as interpreted by Indians.

          1. re: paulj

            Ah! This is good to know. I sort of figured that, since there is a geographic connection. I also was surprised to see so many Chinese recipes by Indians. Now I know. Thanks for sharing!

            1. re: magnoliasouth

              There was thread not too long about Indian-Chinese cooking. It is particularly strong around Kolkata.

              A search on Kolkata in General turned up this

      2. In Chinese cooking, do they use more dried chiles and peppercorns and chile oils than they do fresh chiles?

        8 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          Yes, but I often see fresh Jalapenos or Serrano used in the Sichuan place around here usually in combo with dried chilies. Cumin lamb for example

          1. re: chefj

            So in the US, are we substituting "our" peppers for "theirs"?

            1. re: c oliver

              Theirs were originally ours (all chile peppers came from the Americas).


              In tropical climates like Thailand, chiles ripen at any time of the year, so green ones can be used year around. In Central China, the harvest is seasonal, so dried ones are more common.

              1. re: paulj

                Interesting. So 'spicy' Chinese food comes from the US???

                1. re: c oliver

                  No, But the all Capsicums originally came from the Americas.

                  1. re: chefj

                    Right! I was about to say that. This I knew.

                    It reminds me of Italian tomato sauces. People always want authentic Italian tomato sauces and it really depends on how authentic you want to go, since tomatoes originated also in the Americas.

                    Food is always "evolving" due to availability.

              2. re: c oliver

                Another way to look it: fresh ones don't store or ship well. The only 'foreign' fresh chiles that I see in the groceries are from Mexico. Of course you can easily find dried Chinese chiles and condiments in Asian groceries.

                Anyways, if a Chinese restaurant in the US wants to use green chiles they either have to find a local grower, or find a workable substitute (such as jalapeno or serano).

          2. Dried chile de arbor is used in most Chinese cooking

            1 Reply
            1. re: CDollarsign

              Hunan and Sichuan Chilies are the dried chilies usually found in Most Chinese preparations. Chili de Arbol could be used as substitute but tend to be hotter and less flavorful.

            2. In India they use a long green chili that is skinny ,about 4- 7 inches long and is hot but not bird (Thia) chili hot.
              As I stated below most Chinese applications use either Jalapenos or Serrano when calling for fresh green chili.
              I think that most Asian recipes call sweet peppers "Capsicums"

              1. Personally I think serrano peppers (chiles) are a good choice if readily available. Small. Lots of heat but don't introduce strong flavors. They are readily available around here. I use these in Indian cooking.

                I notice the Oriental restaurants in South Texas use jalapeƱos a lot.


                9 Replies
                  1. re: audreyhtx1

                    This is great to know, since I have serranos growing right now. ;)

                    What would you recommend then for red chiles as a sub for Kashmiri?

                    1. re: magnoliasouth

                      Since Kashmiri Chili is fairly mild, I usually use a mix of Spanish or Hungarian Paprika and Cayenne. The Paprika gives the right color and general chili flavor with and the Cayenne adds the heat.
                      Me and A friend who is a Indian food writer Tried a bunch of other dried chili powders, Ancho,N.M., California, ect...........

                      1. re: chefj

                        Sorry I did not finish that thought.
                        All the other chilies had too pronounced a flavor and tasted Mexican / south western

                        1. re: chefj

                          Are you talking about the peppers themselves? Or the powder? I need actual peppers, dried or otherwise. The powder wouldn't work. :(

                          1. re: magnoliasouth

                            Oh, dried I have never seen Kashmiri chilies used fresh.

                            1. re: chefj

                              Okay thanks! :) That's at least something then, eh?

                            2. re: magnoliasouth

                              " So much is the Kashmir chile (Kashmir Mirch) in demand that there is not enough total annual crop, to go round, and pretenders or mock-Kashmir chiles are passed off in its place. The true Kashmiri chile is deep crimson with a smooth, shiny, thin skin when dried. "

                              1. re: paulj

                                Well that's rather upsetting, isn't it? Ah well, I'll just have to grin and bear it. Thanks for the link!

                        1. The ones I saw used in Taipei were what are called "Holland" chilis in NYC Korean markets - I believe they are cayennes (about 5 or so inches long, 1/2 inch diameter approximately), not terrifically spicy, they are sold in green and red form there but I have only seen the reds here.
                          They are also sold dried and are much less hot than the usual dried ones you get here.
                          I use what I have to hand but prefer not to use jalapenos which I find too grassy. There are nice green ones about the size of the Hollands (or longer) that are wrinkly and also good.
                          The Hollands are on the left in the second row: http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&am...