Chiles

Pepita Habanero Pesto

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5 from 4 votes

Pepita Habanero Pesto

Pepita Habanero Pesto recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 12, Episode 9 “Pink”
Cook Time0 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cilantro, habanero, pumpkin seeds
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup raw and hulled pumpkin seeds or pepitas
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 habanero stemmed
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 3 cups basil leaves
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, or queso Cotija
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste

Instructions

  • On a preheated small skillet, comal, or griddle, set over medium low heat, gently toast the pumpkin seeds and pine nuts for just 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until they start changing color, don’t let them brown.
  • Scrape into the jar of a blender or food processor, add the habanero, cilantro, basil, garlic, olive oil, cheese and salt. Puree until smooth.

Notes

Pesto de Pepita con Habanero

Roasted Tomato and Habanero Salsa

Roasted Tomato and Habanero Salsa
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5 from 4 votes

Roasted Tomato and Habanero Salsa

Roasted Tomato and Habanero Salsa recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 12, Episode 10 “A Mayan League of their Own”
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: Salsa
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: habanero, Salsa, Tomato, Yucatán Peninsula
Servings: 3 cups
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 1 to 2 habaneros
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon GOYA® Vegetable Oil

Instructions

  • On a preheated comal, skillet or griddle, set over medium heat, toast the tomatoes, onion, unpeeled garlic cloves and habaneros. Let them cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the skin is completely charred and the ingredients have completely softened. Alternatively, you can roast under the broiler, flipping them halfway in between. Remove from the heat. Peel the garlic.
  • Place the peeled garlic in a jar of the blender along with tomatoes (don’t remove anything from them!), onion and salt. Stem the chiles, and add half at a time to taste for heat. Pulse with the blender until salsa has a coarse pureed texture.
  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tomato mixture, cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 7 minutes, until the salsa has darkened in color and thickened a bit.

Notes

Salsa Asada de Jitomate y Habanero

Pickled Onion with Fire Roasted Chiles and Garlic

Pickled Onion with Fire Roasted Chiles and Garlic
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4.80 from 5 votes

Pickled Onion with Fire Roasted Chiles and Garlic

Pickled Onion with Fire Roasted Chiles and Garlic recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 12, Episode 6 “Yucatán Meats”
Cook Time5 minutes
Course: Salsa
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: pickled, Salsa, Vegetarian, Yucatán Peninsula
Servings: 4 cups approximately
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 2 to 3 fresh xcatic, banana, yellow wax, güero, or jalapeño chiles
  • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 2 large or 3 medium red onions halved and slivered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • On a preheated comal, griddle, or skillet set over medium heat, toast the unpeeled garlic cloves and chiles until they have completely softened and their skin is completely charred, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Peel the garlic cloves and stem the chiles.
  • Pour the vinegar into a medium saucepan and incorporate the toasted chiles and garlic, the sliced onions, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Set over medium-high heat, let it come to a rolling boil and then immediately turn off heat. Let cool. Can keep in the refrigerator for up to a couple weeks in an airtight container.

Notes

Cebollas Encurtidas con Ajo y Chile Xcatic

Habanero Table Salsa

Habanero Table Salsa
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4.67 from 3 votes

Habanero Table Salsa

Habanero Table Salsa recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 12, Episode 5 “Ode to the Egg”
Cook Time6 minutes
Course: Salsa
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: habanero, Salsa, Vegetarian, Yucatán Peninsula
Servings: 1 /2 cup approximately
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 habanero chiles
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves unpeeled, optional
  • 1/2 cup bitter orange juice or substitute 2 tablespoon each of orange, lime and lemon juice, and white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste

Instructions

  • On a preheated comal, skillet or griddle set over medium heat, toast the habaneros for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping as needed, until their skin is completely charred and the chiles are completely softened inside. Remove from heat. Remove the stems and keep or discard the seeds, as desired. Transfer the chiles to a molcajete and mash, or finely chop and place in a small bowl. (If using garlic, toast on the comal as well, then peel and mince.)
  • Add the garlic into the molcajete or bowl with the chiles, if using. Pour in the bitter orange juice or its substitute, season with the salt, stir, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. You may store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple weeks.

Notes

Salsa de Mesa de Habanero

Orange Habanero Margarita

Orange Habanero Margarita
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4.80 from 5 votes

Orange Habanero Margarita

Another twist on a margarita, this time with sweet orange juice and just a little spicy habanero.
Cook Time0 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cocktail, habanero, Margarita, orange, tequila
Servings: 1 serving
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • Half a lime to rim the glass
  • Salt and sugar to rim the glass
  • 1 slice of a fresh habanero
  • 2 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 ounce agave syrup
  • 2 ounces Gran Centenario® Añejo Tequila
  • Candied orange to garnish

Instructions

  • Rim a glass with lime and dip into a 50/50 mix of salt and sugar. Add ice to the glass.
  • In a shaker, add the slice of habanero and orange juice. Gently muddle using a muddler. Incorporate the agave syrup and tequila. Shake until well mixed. Pour into the rimmed glass with ice. Garnish with a wedge of candied orange.

Pumpkin Seed, Roasted Tomato and Habanero Dip

Pumpkin Seed, Roasted Tomato and Habanero Dip
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4.25 from 4 votes

Pumpkin Seed, Roasted Tomato and Habanero Dip

Pumpkin Seed, Roasted Tomato and Habanero Dip recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 12, Episode 8 “Maya Today”
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Antojos, Appetizer, Dip, Salsa
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: habanero, pumpkin seeds, Tomato, Yucatán Peninsula
Servings: 1 2/3 cups
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ripe Roma tomatoes
  • 1 fresh habanero
  • 2 ounces or 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds with their shells
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and top of the stems
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives
  • Serve with tortilla chips or vegetable sticks such as raw zucchini, cucumber, carrots, jicama

Instructions

  • Preheat a comal, skillet, or griddle over medium heat. Once hot, add the tomatoes, habanero and pumpkin seeds. Toss and flip the pumpkin seeds as they toast, for a couple of minutes, just until they seem to puff up with a bit of air, about 2 to 3 minutes. They should be crunchy and taste toasty. Don’t let them brown too much or burn. Scrape them into a bowl and set aside.
  • Let the tomatoes and habanero continue to char and toast, for a total of about 8 minutes, flipping as needed, until completely softened and the skin is completely charred and blistered. Remove from the heat.
  • Using a food processor or spice or coffee grinder, grind the toasted pumpkin seeds with a teaspoon of salt until finely ground. If using the food processor, you can add the tomatoes, half of the habanero at a time, the cilantro and chives, and continue pulsing until everything is mashed together into a paste. Or, you can transfer the ground pumpkin seeds to a molcajete and mash the tomatoes and habaneros there, tasting as you go, then adding and mashing the cilantro and chives. Serve with tortilla chips or vegetable sticks.
  • Note: In west Yucatán they make it with cilantro, and in east Yucatán they make it with chives. Some people mix the two. Some people add the habanero raw, some roasted or charred.

Notes

Sikil Pak

Chunky Tomato and Habanero Salsa

Chunky Tomato and Habanero Salsa
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3.80 from 5 votes

Chunky Tomato and Habanero Salsa

Chunky Tomato and Habanero Salsa recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 12, Episode 4 “A Family Affair”
Cook Time25 minutes
Course: Salsa
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: habanero, Salsa, Tomato
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 to 3 whole fresh habanero chiles
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste

Instructions

  • Place the tomatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Set over high heat, bring to a boil, and let simmer over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes, until completely cooked and softened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the jar of a blender or food processor and puree just until coarsely chopped. Or you may chop them with a knife, but don’t discard the juices, skin or seeds. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Once hot, add the chiles, cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they start to change color. Add the onion and continue to cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Incorporate the chopped tomatoes, add the salt, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes more, until the color becomes deeper and it thickens. Taste for salt and add more if need be.

Notes

Salsa de Tomate con Habanero

Sweet Lime and Chile de Árbol Guacamole

Sweet Lime and Chile de Árbol Guacamole
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4.75 from 4 votes

Sweet Lime and Chile de Árbol Guacamole

Sweet Lime and Chile de Árbol Guacamole recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 12, Episode 2 “Guayabera World”
Cook Time0 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Avocado, chile de arbol, guacamole
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 chiles de árbol toasted, stems removed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed sweet lime juice or 1 each of lime and lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 sweet lime or a mix of lime and lemon zest
  • 2 to 3 ripe avocados halved pitted and pulp cut into chunks or roughly mashed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons thinly sliced chives

Instructions

  • On a preheated skillet, comal or griddle, toast the chiles de árbol until browned and crisp. Stem and finely chop the chiles and place in a bowl, or crush and mash them in a molcajete. Mix or mash the chiles with the salt, sweet lime juice, and zest. Once mixed, incorporate and mash the avocado. Top with chopped chives.

Notes

Guacamole con Lima y Chile de Árbol

Substitute for Sauce from Asado de Puerco

Poison Beans
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5 from 3 votes

Substitute for Sauce from Asado de Puerco

Substitute for Sauce from Asado de Puerco from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 11, Episode 3 “The World Cup of Tacos”
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: pork, sauce
Servings: 1 cup approximately
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1 ancho chile stemmed and seeded
  • 1 guajillo chile stemmed and seeded
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

Instructions

  • On a preheated comal over medium heat toast the ancho and guajillo chiles for about a minute per side. Transfer to a small saucepan and add the garlic clove, cover with water, and set over medium-high heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the chiles are rehydrated.
  • Place the chiles and garlic in the jar of a blender along with a cup of their cooking liquid and the oregano, cumin, and salt. Puree until completely smooth.

Green Piquin Chile and Oregano Salsa

Green Piquin Chile and Oregano Salsa
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5 from 4 votes

Green Piquin Chile and Oregano Salsa

Green Piquín Chile and Oregano Salsa from Pati's Mexican Table Season 11, Episode 1 "The Fire Kings"
Cook Time0 minutes
Course: Salsa
Keyword: chile piquín, Salsa
Servings: 1 1/2 cups approximately
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced or pressed
  • 1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh green piquín chiles stemmed and finely chopped (may be substituted for fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt or more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk until well emulsified. You may keep this in a closed glass jar or container with a lid in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Notes

Salsa Cruda de Chile Piquín Verde con Orégano

Mixed Nut Salsa Macha

Mixed Nut Salsa Macha
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4.84 from 6 votes

Mixed Nut Salsa Macha

Salsa macha defies anypreconception you may have about salsas. Instead of tomatoes ortomatillos, it has nuts – tons of them! Use it as a topping for avocado toast,guacamole, soft scrambled eggs, or whatever else you can dream up.
Cook Time5 minutes
Course: Salsa, Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Salsa
Servings: 3 cups approximately
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 9 dried guajillo chiles stemmed, seeded, and cut into small squares with scissors
  • 4 to 5 dried chiles de árbol stemmed and cut into small rings (with seeds)
  • 8 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup amaranth seeds
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons dark brown sugar or grated piloncillo
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chiles, garlic, and nuts and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the amaranth seeds. Scrape into a bowl and let cool.
  • Mix the vinegar, brown sugar, and salt into the chile mixture. Let sit, covered, for at least 8 hours before serving to allow the chiles to soften.
  • The salsa will keep, tightly covered, for a few weeks in the refrigerator.

Notes

Salsa Macha con Muchas Nueces

Guacamole Salsa

guacamole salsa
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4.25 from 8 votes

Guacamole Salsa

Guacamole Salsa recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 10, Episode 10 “Quiero más Tacos”
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Salsa
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Avocado, cilantro, jalapeno, serrano, tomatillos
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 1 pound tomatillos husked and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1 jalapeño chile
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and upper stems
  • 1 large avocado halved pitted, meat scooped out, and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or more to taste

Instructions

  • Place the tomatillos, garlic clove, and chiles in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tomatillos are mushy and very soft but have not begun to break apart.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos, chiles, and garlic to a blender. Add the onion, cilantro, avocado, and salt and puree until smooth.
  • Serve at once, or transfer to a container, placing a sheet of plastic wrap directly against the surface before topping with the lid to keep the nice green color. The salsa can be refrigerated for a couple of days. Stir before you use it.

Notes

Salsa de Guacamole

Chile de Árbol Salsa Verde

chile de arbol salsa verde
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4.78 from 9 votes

Chile de Árbol Salsa Verde

Chile de Árbol Salsa Verde recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 10, Episode 8 “The Heart of Tequila”
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Salsa
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chile de arbol, tomatillos
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds tomatillos husked and rinsed
  • 4 chiles de árbol stemmed
  • 1 thin slice of white onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

Instructions

  • Place the tomatillos on a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Roast and char for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping in between, until completely charred, juicy and softened. Alternatively, char them on a grill or a hot comal.
  • Transfer to a blender along with chiles de árbol, a thin slice of white onion and salt. Puree until smooth.

Chile Relleno Rice with Salsa Roja

chile relleno rice
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4.06 from 17 votes

Chile Relleno Rice with Salsa Roja

Chile Relleno Rice with Salsa Roja recipe from Pati’s Mexican Table Season 10, Episode 6 “Tradition and Innovation”
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chile, Mahatma Rice, Oaxaca cheese, Poblano, Tomato
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Author: Pati Jinich

Ingredients

For the chiles rellenos:

  • 6 to 8 poblano chiles about 2 pounds
  • 3 to 4 cups grated melty cheese such as Oaxaca Monterey Jack, mozzarella, or Muenster

For the rice:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Mahatma® Rice jasmine white rice
  • 1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth homemade or store-bought
  • teaspoons kosher salt or to taste

For the salsa roja:

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 1-inch thick slice of a large white onion outer skin peeled off (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 chile de árbol optional
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth homemade or store-bought

Instructions

Make and assemble the chiles rellenos:

  • Place the chiles on a tray under the broiler, directly on the grill, or directly over the open flame. I prefer to broil them. Whatever method you choose, turn them every 2 to 3 minutes for a total of 6 to 9 minutes. They must seem charred and blistered on the outside, while the flesh must be cooked but not burnt. Place them immediately in a plastic bag, close it tightly, and let them sweat for 10 to 20 minutes. Lastly, under a thin stream of cold water, remove the charred skin, which should come right off. Make a slit down one side of the chile and remove the cluster of seeds and veins. Once cleaned, pat them dry.
  • Stuff each of the poblano chiles with about 1/2 cup grated cheese, or as much as will fit allowing them to close. You may seal with a toothpick.

Prepare the rice:

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring softly for 2 to 3 minutes. Incorporate the onion and stir, from time to time, until the rice begins to change to a milky-white color and feels and feels heavier, as if it were grains of sand; about 3 to 4 more minutes. Pour in 4 cups of broth and salt.
  • When it comes to a rolling boil, place the chiles rellenos into the pot. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, and cook until the rice is cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. If the rice grains don’t seem soft and cooked through, add a bit more chicken broth or water and let it cook for another 5 more minutes or so. Once the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salsa roja:

  • Place the tomatoes and garlic in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the tomatoes are completely smooth, cooked and mushy.
  • Place tomatoes and garlic in a blender along with the onion, chile de árbol if using, salt, and pepper, and puree until completely smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, pour in the tomato sauce, cover with a lid partially and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring here and there. Add the chicken broth, stir and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, until well seasoned and lightly thickened.

To serve:

  • Spoon some rice on a plate and place a chile relleno on top. Cover with salsa roja.

Notes

Arroz con Chile Relleno y Salsa Roja

Cascabel Chile

Its name, Cascabel, which translates to rattle, comes from the sound it makes when you shake it. With its sphere, globe-like shape, the dried seeds have a lot of room to play and make noise in. Sometimes, because of that shape it is also called Chile Bola, as in ball.cascabel chile

Different from most fresh chiles that are dried, it retains its shape and doesn’t flatten out once it is dry. Also, different from many chiles, it maintains the same name when fresh or dried. It has a thick and smooth skin and a gorgeous deep brown color with red and sometimes copper hues. And its flavor resembles those colors: toasty, nutty and rustic with moderate heat.

The Cascabel is used in many ways from salsas to stews, to sauces and soups. It is used as is toasted, ground or simmered. It is not widely available outside of Mexico or even in some areas of Mexico. When I get my hands on some, I of course like to cook with the Cascabel Chiles, but I also get a good amount of pleasure admiring them as they sit in a bowl in my kitchen.

Piquí­n Chile

Don’t let their size fool you. These chiles pack a punch of flavor and more importantly, they have been spicing up Mexico’s taste buds for a long time in many ways.

Different varieties of Piquí­n grow in bushes that have small and pointy leaves. The chiles are adorably cute! They are tiny and grow to be only 1 to 2 centimeters long, round and a bit elongated. When fresh, they start green and as they mature their color turns to a deep red that moves towards brown as they dry, which is how they are mostly consumed. Piquí­n chiles have a deep flavor with hints of citrus and smoke. They are a bit spicy but incredibly pleasant.

Chile Piquin goes by different names such as tepí­n, chiltepí­n, chilito, Chiapas (yes, like the state located in south east Mexico), diente de tlacuache (opposum’s tooth), mosquito, pajarito (little bird), enano (dwarf), pulga (flea), amash, and chilpaya amongst others…

It’s most common to find Piquí­n already dried and ground in stores, and that way it can be sprinkled on top of almost everything! In fact, I bet you that any Mexican you may know has eaten Piquí­n sprinkled on something, if not regularly on many things, from pozoles to soups to salads to sweets to covering the rims of tasty drinks. It is also ever present in street food stands that sell fresh fruits, veggies and crazy corn, where these ingredients are drizzled with lime juice, sprinkled with salt and the ground chile.

Guajillo Chile

The Guajillo chile is one of the most commonly used Mexican dried chiles, and it is now widely available in the United States. It is long and pointy, with a beautiful maroon color. Its skin is quite smooth and shinny on the outside, but it is hard and tougher and less pliable than others, like the Ancho.

It has a pleasant and deep flavor, with mild heat. It tends to be a crowd pleaser.
Continue reading “Guajillo Chile”

Poblano Chile or Pepper

The poblano chile is a star in Mexican kitchens. It is used in a wide range of ways and in a wide range of dishes. Some well known examples are chiles en nogada, rajas, pickled, and stuffed with meat or cheese and bathed in a tomato sauce. But there are hundreds of other ways…

Aside from being absolutely gorgeous – chubby, curvy, large, sensuous and with a beautiful dark green color with a bit of a shine to it – it has a striking flavor that is rich, exuberant and fruity. It tends to be a bit capricious as well: it ranges from the very mild to the very hot. However, there are ways to tame its heat.

It is rarely used or cooked in its raw form.  Unlike other ingredients, the poblano has to go through a couple of steps to bring out the finest qualities of its flavor, color and texture. It may seem daunting at first, but once you prepare them a couple of times, the process becomes very simple.  It is just like preparing roasted red bell peppers.

Chilaca Chile

The chilacas, similar to the American Anaheim, are long, thin chiles, that sometimes twist and have a shinny light green color. Their heat goes from mild to mildly hot, but they are never very spicy.

Chilacas are very meaty and are used many times as a vegetable. Most times charred, peeled, and seeded, like the Poblanos, they are used for side dishes like rajas sauteed with onions and sometimes cream and cheese. I ate this version many times in the state of Chihuahua, in the North of Mexico. They are also used for eggs, sauces, soups, casseroles and fillings, amongst other things.

Chilacas become Pasillas when dried, and turn raisin black in color and interestingly bitter in flavor. They are sometimes confused with the New Mexico chile when dried, as they are and look similar, but the later is hotter.

Mulato Chile

The Mulato chile has similar looks to the Ancho chile but instead of a reddish black skin it has a dark black skin. You can tell the difference much better against the light! The Mulato chile also has a sweeter, fuller and more chocolaty flavor than the Ancho. No doubt they are different as they come from different chiles.

The Ancho chile comes from the dried regular Poblano chile. The Mulato chile comes from a variation of the Chile Poblano that has slightly different genes with a darker color and fuller flavor. It is hard to find the latter Poblano chile variation, as the growers prefer to dry them since they can sell them at a higher price at the markets.

Chipotle Chile

The Chipotle chile is the Jalapeño chile, that has been ripened, dried and smoked.  Its name comes from the náhuatl Chilli or Chile, and Poctli or smoke.

The process of drying and smoking Jalapeños has existed for centuries, even before the Spaniards arrived. It was considered a way to preserve chiles for long periods of time and also bring out their interesting qualities.

There are different kinds of Chipotle chiles, all of which are spicy, smoky and rich.

Chipotle Chile 1


This photo shows two varieties of Chipotles.  On the left we see the longer Chipotles mecos, and in the middle we see medium sized Chipotles mecos. All the mecos come from a larger variety of Jalapeños. On the right we see the smaller Chipotles moritas, which come from smaller varieties of Jalapeños with a slightly different flavor and a bit more fragrant smell.

One of the more popular spins of any Chipotle chiles are when they are pickled and preserved in adobo sauce and turned into Chiles Chipotles in Adobo Sauce.  Another popular take is when they are pickled in vinegar and spices and become Pickled Chipotles.  But they are also used regularly, as they are dried and smoked, for many dishes, stews, soups, sauces and moles.

Habanero Chile

Habanero chiles are one happy looking bunch. They have colorful colors that go from green to the yellow, and then orange to red as they mature. They are small, cute, shinny and have waxy skin. But as much as their looks are inviting, they are the spiciest chiles in Mexican cuisine. They are incredibly fierce. With a rating of 300,000 to 350,000 on the Scoville scale for measuring hotness of a chili pepper, you can get an idea of how hot they are: Jalapeños go around 10,000 to 15,000.

Habaneros are a crucial ingredient for the regional cuisine of the Yucatan Peninsula. They are native of that region, though ironically, they are named after the Cuban city of Habana as they were traded there, heavily, centuries ago.

They are very easy to grow indoors and are beautiful to look at, so it is quite common to find them in kitchen pots, not only in Mexico!

Banana Pepper or Chiles Güeros

Banana peppers are called chiles güeros in many regions of Mexico. Güero, translates to blond, name given because of their pale, yellowish color. There are different varieties or banana peppers, but they are pale and light in looks, have waxy skin, and a similar flavor to Jalapeños. Their heat level can range from mild to hot.

There is a variety of banana peppers different from the one in this photo, that is a bit more elongated in shape, which is very popular for pickling. Banana peppers are sold in many stores in the DC-MD-VA area, but if you are unable to find them, you can substitute with Jalapeños.

Chile de árbol

Chile de árbol is a very spicy, yet incredibly flavorful dried chile. It is small, but elongated and thin. It has a deep and shinny orange-red color and it is used in many, many ways. It is often crushed for very spicy table salsas, though it is also used to add flavor and a bit of heat if not opened when cooking, amongst others.

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Pasilla Chile

The Pasilla Chile is the dried Chilaca Chile. It is also by far the most harvested and used chile in the state of Michoacan. In some towns you can see some patios covered with mats where hundreds and thousands of Chilacas are being dried in the sun to be turned into Pasillas.

When it is fresh, it is long and shiny with a bright light green color. Once dried and with the name Pasilla, it is very long, slender, dark brown or black, with soft wrinkled skin. It has a rich, earthy and mildly spicy taste with a hint of sweetness. It is used for many things such as table sauces, soups, stews, rubs, marinades and moles (continue for more information and photos).

It goes by different names, in some regions it is called Pasilla and in some Negro, or Black. Some call it Black Pasilla or Pasilla Negro. It can be substituted by the New Mexico dried Chile, thought it does have a different flavor. Not to confuse it with the Ancho Chile, which in some places in the US is called Pasilla as well. So it will be easy to recognize, here are a couple pictures.

But don’t worry, once you cook with a specific kind of Chile you will not mistake it with any other! I am also adding a couple pictures of the Ancho Chile in its entry, so you can distinguish them as well.

Pasilla Chile 2-thumb-510x343-754

Serrano Chile

Mexican cooking authority Diana Kennedy has said that the Serrano chile has the shape of a bullet. One could say that it tastes like one too! Serranos are spicy. However, as with most chiles, you can pump down the heat by removing the seeds and veins.

They have, like the Jalapeños, a dark and deep green color, shinny skin and a small and thin stem.  However, Serranos tend to be on the smaller side and are much thinner and appear longer.

It seems to me, Serranos have a fuller and more flagrant flavor than the Jalapeños. Don’t buy them if the have wrinkled skin or brown or black spots.

serrano 1

Jalapeño Chile

This is probably the most well known fresh chile outside of Mexico. It is extremely popular inside the country as well. It looks a bit similar to the Serrano chile, and can be used interchangeably, thus they are many times confused. They are both dark green, with a shine to them, and carry a small and thin darker stem.

However, the Jalapeño is larger, bigger, rounder and chubbier than the Serrano. Ironically, it is milder in heat and has a lighter taste. Just as most fresh chiles, its heat can be pumped down by removing the seeds and veins. Similarly as other fresh chiles, don’t buy them if they have wrinkled skin or dark brown or black spots.

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Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

Chipotles in adobo sauce are one of my favorite Mexican ingredients. They are ready to be spooned on top or inside of almost anything: quesadillas, tacos, sandwiches, grilled meats… Yet, they are also a wonderful cooking ingredient to use for making a wide range of dishes, from soups to moles, from salsas to stews and even mashed potatoes.  Chipotles have truly unique layers of flavor that come together in a most wonderful way: smoky, sweet, deep, rich and pleasantly spicy.

Chipotle Chiles in Adobo 1

The chipotles in adobo are Jalapeño chiles that have been ripened to a deep red, dried, smoked and pickled in a combination of vinegar, spices and tomato puree.

Yes! If you want to make your own, follow my recipe. However, ready to buy chipotles in adobo sauce in cans and glass jars are a staple in Mexican pantries and stores have a wide array of brands to choose from, each with their own peculiar spin.  Should you opt for buying them (as most people do…), try a couple different brands, they do vary in flavor.

Ancho Chile

The Ancho chile is a stellar ingredient in Mexican cuisine. It is probably the most used dried Chile throughout Mexico and no wonder why: Its flavor is unmatchable.

The Ancho is the Poblano Chile that has been ripened to a deep red and then dried. This concentrates the already exuberant and fruity flavors of the Poblanos.

It is wide, chubby, wrinkled and very pliable, different from other dried chiles. It has a deep reddish brown skin, with a bit of shine, which sort of imitates its flavor as well. Deep and rich, sharp and fruity, it has a hint of bittersweet notes and a resemblance to the flavor of prunes. It is very mild in heat.

Ancho chiles can be easily found in grocery stores throughout the US. They are typically rinsed, seeded and then toasted and/or soaked or simmered in hot water.