I don't have the dexterity of a Thai watermelon carver, but every once in a while I like to add a decorative touch to everyday foods. Remember the chili flowers from my Sichuan-style chicken noodle soup? A couple of readers wrote in to ask how to make them, so here is my belated post. All you need to start are fresh chilis and a pair of clean, pointy kitchen shears. And maybe some gloves if you plan on touching your eyes within the next few hours.
1. Snip off the tip of the chili. Snip the chili in half length-wise, almost to the stem. With the shears, carefully scrape out as many seeds as possible.
2. Carefully cut each half again, into 2 or 3 strips of equal width.
3. Soak the finished flowers in a bowl of cold water for 15 to 20 minutes. The helps the "petals" to "fan out". Just dry off, and you're done! At this point, you can either dry them off to use immediately (it helps to have a finished dish to decorate), or store in the fridge in cold water for up to a day. Recommended for noodle soups, stir-fries, and anything spicy you can think of.