BBC Good Food Magazine

Mexican dried chillies

Our cookery assistant Helena Busiakiewi­cz shares what she’s learned about Mexican dried chillies


Most common chillies come from the species Capsicum Annuum, which was irst grown in Mexico around 5,000 years ago. What makes dried chillies so special is that the drying process concentrat­es the unique lavours in the chilli’s cell walls, encouragin­g them to react with each other and create really intense lavours.

A good place to start is the ancho chilli.

They are made from dried poblano peppers and are not particular­ly spicy, but they pack an acidic, fruity lavour. For intense chilli heat, try the arbol chilli. On the Scoville scale, which is a measure of chilli heat, they regularly rank six times hotter than a jalapeño! Chipotle chillies are made from smoked and dried red jalapeños, and are hotter than the ancho, but not quite as hot as the arbol. Pasilla chillies have a famously wrinkled skin, and are a key lavour in Mexican mole sauce.

To prepare dried chillies, remove stems and seeds and rehydrate in either hot water or just by adding them to a braise. You can also toast them in a dry hot pan before using in recipes, to bring out their smokiness.

The texture of good-quality dried chillies should remind you of dried fruit, like raisins – so still soft and pliable, rather than brittle and crisp. Keep them in airtight containers in the darkest part of your food cupboard.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia