How to Soak Chiles

Dried chiles have countless uses in the kitchen. When ground up, they become potent and versatile spices, and when soaked and softened, they make a delicious base for sauces like the one accompanying this Red Chile Enchiladas recipe. Soaking chiles is quick and easy.

1. Put the chiles into a bowl and cover with boiling water.

2. Let them soak, nudging them occasionally with a spoon to make sure they're fully submerged, until chiles are soft and dark red, about 20 minutes. Remove them from the water and pull off the stems (some recipes may call for reserving some of the soaking water).

3. Finally, slice them open lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.

4. The chiles are now ready to puree for sauce.