Some like it hot and some like it all wrinkly and dried out - okay we’re talking about chiles here (get your mind out of the gutter).
Dried chiles are what give the smoky all-around tempting flavor to Mexican and Southwestern dishes. Add them to mole sauces, salsas, stuff them whole or blend them to turn then into their own unique sauces. It’s the magic of dried chiles!
Just because the chile is not fresh from the farm it doesn’t mean they aren’t just as potent. Dried chiles range from mild to extra hot just like farm-fresh chiles and contain all the same health benefits too. A lot of health benefits like the ones below:
- Fights inflammation
- Natural Pain Relief
- Healthy Heart Benefits
- Clears Congestion
- Boosts Immunity
- Can help prevent Prostate Cancer
- Can help prevent Stomach Ulcers
- Can aid in weight loss
- Lowers risk of diabetes
There are many different dried chiles to incorporate into your cooking. Here are just some that may heat up your at-home dinner meals.
Ancho Chiles: the most popular dried chile in Mexican cuisine and its heat factor can range from mild to hot. It has a deep red color and is great to use in sauces
Cascabel: also means rattlesnake. Its unique round shape makes a rattling sound when shook (it’s the seed itching to come out of their shell!) which gives it its literal name. Its flavor is rich and earthy and great for home-cooked rustic meals.
Chipotle: is a versatile chile that can be cooked or stuffed. It’s basically a jalapeño that has been dried in smoke. It’s really hot but tastes great in dishes with its smoky, subtle fruity flavor. This chile is most popular in the United States and seems to be trending in all food categories like bread, hamburgers, sauces, and salads.
De Arbol: Some may call this the Heidi Klum of chili peppers. The De Arbol chill is long and skinny with smooth skin and really, really hot. This chile is great to grind into powder after being toasted and used in refried beans. Yum!
Guajillo: this chile has a sharp, pungent flavor that can range from ‘sorta hot’ to ‘wow! but still bearable hot’. Its skin is tough and has a red-purple tone. The best way to use Guajillo chiles is to grind them into powder and use them to rub on meat dishes.
Don’t forget to keep your dried chiles “fresh” by storing them in an airtight container in your cupboard - or even in the freezer. This keeps any unwanted bugs out. You can keep them for up to a year, but 3-6 months will prove the best flavors!