Making small quantities If you want just enough sauce for one meal, soak 4–6 dried small red chillies in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain. Cut up the chillies and put them in a mortar with a little olive oil or other oil, and some salt. Add cumin seeds, or fish sauce or shrimp paste, as you wish. Grind all together to make a smooth, or fairly smooth, paste. If you don’t eat it all, it will keep in the fridge for 2 or 3 days; the oil and salt help to preserve it.