We just a few different Mexican chillies in our cooking. Chillies don’t just provide heat depending on the chilli it can help build depth of flavour in a dish or impart smokiness.
It’s getting easier to get your hands on proper Mexican chillies with plenty of websites and even some supermarkets now stocking them.
If its a dried chilli you will need to rehydrate it in warm liquid before you use it. You can always remove seeds and veins if you want to reduce the heat from the chill.
This is a guide to some of the chillies we use:
Ancho chilli is a dried poblano chilli. They have a slightly tangy taste and are generally not that hot and are one of the base chillies used in Mexican cooking. They are abundant and inexpensive.
A chipotle chilli is a dried jalapeno. Most dried chillies are left to dry out naturally in the warm sunshine but jalapeños have a higher water content and therefore will rot if left out. Jalapeños are smoke-dried which gives us a chipotle chilli – naturally the flavour of slightly smokey. You can find canned chipotles in a thick tomato sauce which are great, quick and cheap. We find chipotles tend to be fairly hot.
Along with Ancho chillies Guajillo are the other very common chilli used in Mexico. The flavour is slightly berry like with a little sweetness which makes it great for salsas and sauces. A medium heat.
Some of the hottest chillies in the world and are therefore used sparingly. Despite the heat they do offer a herby and tropical fruit flavour. Habanero is very popular in the Yucatan region of Mexico where they are used in salsas.
One of the most common chillies which are very easy to get hold of. Now grown throughout the world due to its mild flavour (compared to many other chillies). They are either green or red. The red chillies are just left on the plant longer.