Dried spices and stems can be rehydrated by letting them soak in boiling hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. An alternative method involves letting them soak in water for eight hours.
Dried spices and stems can be used in the same way as their fresh counterparts. As well as rehydrating them, they can also be cut up or minced before being added to recipes or dishes.
When rehydrating chili peppers, the seeds can be removed first if a milder taste is desired. The dried seeds can then be ground up and used to add extra hot flavor to other foods. The peppers themselves can be pureed in a blender until they form a paste that can be used to add spiciness to curries, soups, meats and any other dish that may benefit from a spicy flavor.
Dried shiitake mushrooms can also be cut up and soaked in boiling hot water to rehydrate them; soaking them in water for eight hours, however, doesn't result the best possible flavor. It's easier to soak them if the stems are cut off from the caps. The water used to soak the mushrooms can then be used to add flavor to soups and broths.
Dried herbs can be rehydrated by letting them soak in water for 10 minutes. The water can then be strained and used in the recipe if required. An alternative method is to mix the dried herbs in oil together with vinegar or lemon juice and leave them to re-hydrate in a tightly covered dish for 10 minutes.