Dried Chili Peppers
Dried chilies = chili peppers = chiles = chilis = chillies = chile peppers = aji peppers (in South America and the Caribbean) are popular in Mexican cuisine, and they tend to have a richer, more complex flavor than their fresh counterparts. All chilies vary in heat as measured by the Scoville scale, which ranges from 0 for the mild bell pepper to 200,000 or so for the sweat-inducing habanero chili to 1,500,000 for the legendary Carolina Reaper. As a general rule, the smaller and redder the chili, the hotter.
You can tone down the heat of any dried chili by removing its seeds and veins, or by soaking it in water or vodka. Select dried peppers that have stems, and that are unbroken and not so brittle that they break when you bend them slightly. It's best to lightly toast dried chilis in a pan or 350°F oven until they become fragrant. If you plan to make a sauce with the chilis, soften them first by soaking them in water.
When working with peppers, wear rubber gloves or, in a pinch, coat your hands with vegetable oil. Wash your hands carefully afterwards.