Dried Chili Peppers

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.


Varieties:

ají panca chili - dried
ají panca chili - dried
This reddish-brown dried chili is fruity, mild, and a little smoky.
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ancho chili
ancho chili
These mild, dried poblano peppers have a sweet, fruity flavor and are a staple in Mexican cuisine. They're brownish-black and wrinkled, and commonly used in adobos, moles, salsas, and various sauces.
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California chili
California chili
These are dried Anaheim chiles, and very mild.
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cascabel pepper - dried
cascabel pepper - dried
These are nicknamed rattle chiles because the seeds rattle when you shake them. They're a rich brown color and moderately hot.
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Catarina chili dried
Catarina chili dried
This medium-hot Mexican chili is used to make tamales, marinades, stews and soups. It's got a fruity flavor with just a hint of tobacco.
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cayenne pepper dried
cayenne pepper dried
These are very hot, bright red chilies. Recipes that call for cayenne pepper are likely referring to a ground powder that goes by the same name, or possibly to the fresh version of the pepper.
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Chilcostle chili
Chilcostle chili
This hard-to-find and moderately hot Mexican chili is used in soups, stews, tamales, and mole sauces. It imparts a yellowish color to dishes.
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chile de árbol dried
chile de árbol dried
Unlike many chilies, these remain bright red even after drying, so they're a favorite for making chili wreaths. They're very hot and somewhat acidic. Don't confuse the dried version with the fresh or powdered versions, which go by the same name.
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Chilhuacle negro chile
Chilhuacle negro chile
This excellent Mexican chili is loaded with flavor but hard to find. It's used to make mole negro and bean dishes. It is moderately hot.
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chipotle pepper
chipotle pepper
These dried and smoked jalapeño peppers lend a wonderful, complex flavor to sauces. They're usually rehydrated and canned in adobo sauce, but you can also buy them dried in cellophane bags. They are medium hot.
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Costeño Amarillo
Costeño Amarillo
This yellow Mexican chili is used to make soups, stews, and mole sauces. It's fruity and moderately hot and somewhat hard to find.
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guajillo chili
guajillo chili
One of the more popular Mexican chilies, the guajillo (or dried mirasol chili) has a fruity flavor and medium heat (Scoville heat scale of 2,500 to 5,000 SHU). It's smooth, shiny, and reddish-brown, and it has a tough skin, so it needs to be soaked longer than other chiles. These are commonly used for marinades and adobos.
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habanero - dried
habanero - dried
Don't confuse dried habaneros with the fresh version, which goes by the same name. These extremely hot chiles are wrinkled and orange.
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Japanese chili
Japanese chili
These small red chilis are hot, and similar to the chile de arbol. Before using them, soak them in warm water for a few minutes.
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mora chili
This is a smoked and dried red jalapeno pepper. It's very hot.
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morita pepper
morita pepper
Like the larger mora chili, this is a smoked and dried red jalapeno. It's very hot.
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mulato chili
mulato chili
This very popular chili looks like the ancho, but it's darker and sweeter. It's fairly mild and has an earthy flavor.
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New Mexico red chili
New Mexico red chili
These chilies have an earthy flavor and resemble the California chili, except they're hotter and more flavorful. They are moderately hot.
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Onza roja chili
Onza roja chili
These are used in sauces and soups. They're hot.
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pasilla chili
pasilla chili
This is the dried version of the chilaca chili. It's mild, long, black, and wrinkled, and a standard ingredient in mole sauces. Ancho chilies are sometimes mislabeled as pasillas.
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pequin pepper dried
pequin pepper dried
These small red peppers are very hot.
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piri piri pepper dried
piri piri pepper dried
These are insanely hot tiny peppers.
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puya chili dried
puya chili dried
This is similar to the guajillo chile, only smaller and more potent. It has a fruity flavor that's good in salsas and stews. They are fairly hot.
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tepin dried
tepin dried
These look a bit like large dried cranberries. They're also sold fresh. They are very hot.
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