Dried chillies

Mexican Chillies

Mexika UK sells a variety of chillies, which are packed air tight, and we ship where possible the same day.

When it comes to chillies, Mexico attains a variety of dried chillies that are used to prepare the simplest salsas to the most elaborate main dishes.  Chillies are one of the key ingredients in Mexican cuisine and are almost always present at the centre of every meal. They are often eaten whole when they are fresh but when dried, chillies are transformed into decadent table salsas or become key ingredients in main dishes, such as mole.   At Mexika, we carry the most distinctive chillies used in Mexican cuisine today, these include:  Chile de Arbol,  Ancho, Guajillo, Chipotle,  Morita, Habanero, Pasilla, Pasilla Oaxaca, and chilli Cascabel.

Dried Chillies

Chile De Arbol has a heat index of 15,000-30000 Scoville units,  and  is distinguished by its fiery red colour.  This Mexican chilli is often compared to a bird’s beak because of its long thin shape.  When dried and roasted the nuttiness of the chilli is enhanced, it is often used to make salsas, and to add flavour to simple ingredients like making refried beans and stir fries.  Chilli de Arbol is the only chilli that does not lose its colour when it’s dried.  It is for this reason that this chilli is not only used in cooking, but also to create colourful kitchen decorations such as the popular chilli wreaths.

Ancho Chilli has a heat index of 1,000-2,000 Scoville units and has brownish black colour.  The Ancho chilli is simply a Poblano chilli that has been dried. When this chilli is fresh it is often used to make popular recipes such as chiles rellenos or chiles and nogada, but when dried the ancho goes into a whole other league of its own unattainable by other chillies.  The Ancho chilli has a mild sweet flavour and when paired together with the Guajillo and Pasilla they make up what is known as the “chilli holy trinity” because together they make the base for the most decadent mole sauces in Mexico.

Guajillo Chilli has a heat index of 2,500-5,000 Socville units, and has a deep reddish colour. The Guajillo is quite mild and almost has a distinct  sweet, fruity characteristic note to it. This chilli is used in dishes trying to achieve sweet and lightly spicy notes. Its  beautiful red colour helps to add nice red tones to various dishes without having to worry about the extra heat.  Chilli Gugallio is the go to chilli when making pozole or red tamales made from pork, turkey, deer, or chicken, which are often eaten in Mexico during the Christmas and the New Year celebrations  and also eaten at special occasions  such as weddings.

Guajillo chilli

Chipotle Chilli and Chilli Morita are both very similar. They both have a heat index of 5,000 – 10,000 Scoville units.  The word chipotle comes from the native Nahuatl word (chilpoctli ) which means smoked chilli. Both of these chillies derive from the Jalapeño, and while they come from the same chilli plant and share the same heat index their visual appearance sets them apart from one another. Chilli chipotle is also known as chilli Meco. It is brownish in colour in contrast to the Morita. Chilli Chipotle is left on the plant until it falls off on its own. It is then dried and smoked slowly for a long period of time which adds an extra smoky layer to this chilli.  The Chilli Morita comes from ripened jalapeños that have been picked and smoked. Chipotle Morita is more purplish in colour is and resembles a mulberry hence its name.

Habanero Chilli has a heat index of 150,000 – 350,000 Scoville units.  The Habenero chilli is one of Mexico’s hottest chillies used in Mexican cuisine; it is also noted as one of the hottest chillies in the Guinness book of world records.  The Habanero is considered extremely hot with citrusy and fruity notes. This chilli comes in a variety of bright colours including orange, red, and yellow hues and sometimes even brown. The origin of this chilli is said be from the Amazon which eventually propagated to Mexico, and became popular in Yucatan. In the Yucatán region of Mexico, the Mayan culture has heavily influenced the cuisine in the peninsula.  The Yucateco’s in turn have spread their love for extremely hot sauces and marinades from habanero salsas to the ever so famous mouth watering cochinita pibil. Today the Yucatan peninsula is the largest producer of Habanero dried chillies.

Pasilla Chilli has a heat index of 1,000 – 2,500 Scoville units. This mild – medium hot chilli is sometimes referred to as “little raisin” due exclusively to its dark purplish colour and wrinkly nature. Pasilla chillie is also known as Chile Negro and tends to be 6 – 8 inches long, 1- 1 ½  inches wide. This chilli is derived from the Chilaca chilli and is often used in rubs on  meat such as duck, lamb and seafood.

Pasilla Chilli

Pasilla Oaxaca has a heat index of 4,000 – 10,000 Scoville units. This chilli is ripened on the vine then lightly smoked.  The Pasilla de Oaxaca posses less heat than the smoked jalapeño (chipotle chilli) but has twice the smoky flavour.  When dried, this chilli also has a wrinkly texture with a red mahogany colour.  Pasilla de Oaxaca is grown in small areas of Sierra Mixe and is not produced or exported at very large scale so it is often hard to come by. This chilli type is said to be fruity with smoky tones, with hints of cherry and cocoa undertones.

Cascabel Chilli has a heat index of 1,000- 2,500 Scoville units. Unlike many other chillies that have one name when fresh then change when dried; such as the Jalapeño becomes Chipotle, the Cascabel retains it same name.  Cacabel chillies have a deep brown, reddish colour and are characterised by their shape and loose seeds. When shaken the seeds make a rattling noise, hence the chillies name “Cascabel” which means rattle in Spanish.  The Cascabel chilli is round in nature and is about 1.5 inches in diameter. This chilli has a sweet, nutty flavour that pairs well with any meat and seafood.

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