No ingredient is more fundamental to Mexican food than the colorful chile.
Chile is a versatile fruit that comes in a wide variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and heat. It can be prepared in a myriad of ways: roasted (my favorite), fried, boiled, grilled, and/or fresh. In this blog post I share some of my favorite chiles.
Anaheim (Mild to Medium)
Anaheim chiles are perfect for recipes calling for roasted chiles to make salsas or chile rellenos. The riper dried, red form of this chile is called chile colorado.
Chile de Arbol (Hot)
The name of this chile is Spanish for “tree,” which is exactly what these slender, tapered chiles resemble. Chiles de arbol are thin-fleshed and have a tannic, smoky, grassy flavor with searing heat.
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (Hot)
This is actually a dried, smoked, red jalapeño. I use the canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which are marinated in vinegar and seasonings. You can eat the peppers straight from the can, chop them up as a garnish, or cook them with your favorite meal.
Dried Red Chile (Mild to Hot)
Also referred to as chile colorado, New Mexico chile, or California chile, this chile has a thin flesh with an earthy chile flavor and undertones of wild cherries. This is the chile I use to make red chile sauce.
Jalapeño (Medium to Hot)
Jalapeños have the richest flavor of all the small chiles, which makes them perfect for salsas.
Poblano/Pasilla (Mild to Medium)
This heart-shaped chile—wider and darker than an Anaheim—is also mild. It has a wide interior, which makes it the perfect chile for stuffing.
The flavor of serrano chiles is bright and biting with a delayed fuse. These small, skinny, pointy chiles are about five times hotter than jalapeños.