Cooks can substitute hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes for chili paste. Chili paste is seasoned with salt and made up of hot peppers, oil and garlic. Cooks sometimes use dried peppers instead of paste.
Chili paste is used frequently in Asian cooking. In fact, many Asian countries have their own version including Vietnam, Korea and China. Any of these versions can be used when a recipe calls for chili paste. A similar concoction is chili bean paste, which is a mixture of chili peppers and fermented soy beans. Both types of pastes pack a lot of heat, so cooks should add them sparingly.