Chilies are actually peppers. They are simply indispensable ingredients in Mexican food and since prehistoric times, Origination of most chiles is from Mexico and, in general, South America and Central America. Chiles in Mexico can be found in a wide variety of shapes and colors, spicy and milder. They can be eaten dry, fresh or frequently used in Mexican dishes and cooking.
Here are some of the most popular chiles in use in Mexican food:
- Serrano: A small, fresh, green hot chile. Used for spice and flavor in cooking and as a garnish.
- Jalapeño: Larger than a serrano, though still small. This fresh green or red chile is probably the easiest to find in America. The ripe red version is sweeter; the green version can be spicy.
- Poblano: A dark green, medium-sized fresh green chile often roasted and stuffed.
- Habanero: A tiny, lantern-shaped fresh chile of extraordinary heat. Interchangeable with the incendiary Scotch Bonnet.
- Chile de arbol: A small, red dried chile. It’s the chile used for the dried red chile flakes in the spice section of the market.
- Chipotle: A medium-small, wrinkled, dried brown chile with a unique smoky flavor reminiscent of bacon. It’s the dried, smoked version of jalapeño.
- Chile negro, or pasilla: A long, narrow, dark brown dried chile used for grinding into moles.
- Ancho: A medium-sized, wrinkled, brown dried chile with a mellow, earthy, sweet flavor. It’s the dried version of the poblano.