Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Wholemeal Crank

Recipe for testing chilies?

Recommended Posts

I have just obtained some dried chilhaucle chiles, and before I use them for mole, I'd like to try one in a really simple recipe that I can use to compare to some of the more easily obtained varieties. I want the flavors of the different chiles to stand out, and it to be simple enough to make several versions at a time for comparison.

Would it make more sense to rehydrate a piece of each and mix with otherwise plain rice, or make a quesadilla with a bit of queso fresco, or mix with some cooked sweet corn or hominy? How would you or do you test chiles?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd definitely avoid mixing it with cheese or any other strong flavor. I'd tend to rehydrate dried chiles, mix with a little water, and make a plain salsa with nothing but the chiles and water. For fresh chiles, I'd roast them and then make the salsa.

To taste it, I'd just put a small amount of the salsa into my mouth. Or, if it's really 'picante,' smear it onto a tortilla.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree. Since dairy inhibits the heat effect of chiles, I'd avoid using any sort of cheese or dairy product.

I'd just grind a little bit of each in a clean mortar & pestle, mix with water and sniff and taste each one. Then, I'd use something bland and dairy-free, like a tortilla, to cleans the palate in between tastes. I'd be afraid that mixing with too many other flavors (like acid) might skew the sampling.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a simple salsa is a good idea, or maybe mixing with mayo? I'm not sure you can compare them side by side all that well. A bite of some mild pepper is nothing, a bit off a habanero is something you won't forget :laugh:

Or maybe make a simple vegetable broth or mild hot/sour soup (w/o the hot part) and separate it into cups, then add what you think are good amounts of each pepper to a cup and taste. Keep a glass of milk handy to kill the fire if one it too hot. Water or beer etc won't work.

take some pictures if you can and let us know! I've wondered about how to compare peppers myself.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm leery of the straight tasting, precisely because of the variable heat. I mostly want to compare some relatively mellow chiles, no intention of tasting vs habaneros, or even chipotles. I know what those are good for.

I want to compare the mild and medium chiles that are often suggested as substitutes for each other, like anchos, pasillas and mulatos, and these chilhuacles; and cascabels vs california vs guajillos. It's not so much regarding heat, because that is the easiest thing to increase by adding cayenne or bits of habaneros if needed, but regarding sweet/tart/unami.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since they're mostly used in chile sauces, why not make a basic chile sauce?

Toast and rehydrate the chiles, blend with onions and garlic and enough of the soaking liquid to move the blades. Fry the paste in lard for 1o minutes and then thin with stock and add salt. This would work for almost anything (exceopt maybe arbols and cascabels, which tend to be used for table salsas). Once you know the taste, I'd add cumin and mex oregano to complete the sauce.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

That might be the simplest way to go. I could prep the onions and garlic separately, divvy it up between the peppers, and use the leftover after the tasting for a nice batch of beans n' rice. A bit simpler for comparing flavors than a full salsa, but not as plain as just pureed peppers over rice or tortillas.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

you could also just (fire) roast them and try them with some bread and olive oil, since you're not talking about hot ones.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I gathered my dried chiles


Seeded them and ran them through my spice grinder


Took about 2 grams of each and added 2 tablespoons of boiling water to rehydrate them; sauteed some onions and garlic, and added a spoonful to each chile slurry, and tasted them. I used plain brown rice and some tortilla chips as the vehicles for the chiles, and tasted them from milder to hotter per the ratings on this chart. I decided not to toast or fry the chiles first because I wanted to taste them as simply as possible this time.

Mildest group:

The ancho was only slightly little hot, and mildly fruity.

The mulato was very earthy, darker flavored, less fruity, and hotter.

The pasilla was fruitier, less earthy, and not quite as hot as the mulato.

In between heat:

The New Mexico was fruity, lighter, and a bit tart, hotter than the first three but not by much.

The guajillo was earthier than the New Mexico, but less so than the mulato, but hotter than the mulato.

The chilhaucle negro was fruity, tart, less heat than New Mexico or guajillo, and seemed more like the New Mexico in the tart/fruity flavor.

The cascabel was sweet and fruity, and not particularly hot. I have had these for a long time and hardly ever use them. I will use them more often now!

Hottest (but still quite mild as chiles go!):

The puya was a bit one dimensional with heat but not a lot of depth of flavor.

The chipotle surprised me with how sweet and fruity it was under the smoky heat.

All in all, a lot of fun, and although the chilhaucle negro did have a bit of a unique flavor, it wasn't so astonishingly good that I can see continuing to pay as much as I did for these.

After the tasting, I took the rest of the chile tests and extra powdered chile (rehydrating in additional boiling water), added it back to the remaining onions and garlic in the pot, and cooked it a while before adding some stock, beans, etc, until it made a tasty chili.

Edited by Wholemeal Crank (log)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Darienne
      Chile Rellenos.  Every Mexican or Mexican type restaurant we've ever been in almost, I've chosen Chile Rellenos.   I keep thinking I'll pick something different...and then I don't.  I've made them.  Once.  So much trouble.  And deep fat frying.  And of course in the Far Frozen North where we live, we've been able to get Poblanos (that's it) for only about five years now.  
      Imagine my delight, the appeal to my very lazy side, to discover the following recipe just a few days ago: https://www.homesicktexan.com/2018/09/chile-relleno-casserole-el-paso-style.html  .  And yesterday I made them and served them to guests with Mexican rice and black beans.  Died and gone to heaven.
      OK.  Truth time.  I used Poblanos and  I did not roast them to remove the skins.  In an electric oven, it's not a nice job.  And besides the skins have never bothered me or Ed at all.  But I did roast the Poblanos in the oven.  And then I used commercial salsa because we had one we liked.  (Did I say that I can be lazy sometimes?)  And I used Pepper Jack cheese.  Jack cheese is not always available in the small Ontario city we live outside of and pepper jack is even less common.  Buy it when you see it.  I defrosted some frozen guacamole I had in the freezer.  But by heavens the casserole was delicious and now it's on our menu permanently.
      So shoot me.  But I thought I'd share my joy anyway. 
    • By jackie40503
      I lived in Phoenix AZ a total of 24 years and during that time I found what the local restaurants call a Green Chili Burro. I have also lived and worked in 48 states and the only ones who have them is either in Arizona, Western New Mexico or Southern California. I am now retired in Northwest Washington State. I have searched the internet for recipes and have found that none of them taste the same. I have also written to many Mexican restaurants and either did not receive a reply or was told that they could not give out the recipe. I am now going around to blogs/forums dealing with Mexican foods hoping that someone would have the actual recipe from one of the restaurants. Its not like I am going trying to compete with them since I live along way from those areas and only wish to serve it in my own household.
    • By ProfessionalHobbit
      I had completely forgotten about our dinner there in December. 
      Anyone who is a serious eater here on eGullet needs to come here soon. Highly recommended. @MetsFan5 - here is one place you might love over Gary Danko. You too @rancho_gordo.
      I'll let the pix speak for themselves...


      Horchata - Koshihikari rice, almonds, black cardamom, cinnamon.

      Scallop chicharrón, scallop ceviche, crème fraîche.

      Jicama empanada, shiso, pumpkin, salmon roe.

      Smoked mushroom taco with pickled wild mushrooms.

      Dungeness crab tostada, sour orange segments, sour orange-habanero salsa, Castelfranco radicchio, tarragon.

      Pineapple guava sorbet

      Fuyu persimmon, habanero honey, tarragon

      Tasmanian trout ceviche, dashi, Granny Smith apple

      Aguachile, parsnip, red bell pepper


      Black bean tamales steamed in banana leaves, with salsa on the side

      Smoked squab broth, pomegranate seeds, cilantro flowers

      Tres frijoles with sturgeon caviar, shallots and edible gold leaf

      Black cod, salsa verde, green grapes

      Wagyu beef, pickled onion


      Smoked squab breast served with spiced cranberry sauce, quince simmered in cranberry juice, pickled Japanese turnips and charred scallion, and sourdough flour tortillas
      Yes, it's the same squab from which the broth was made.



      And now the desserts:

      Foie gras churro, with foie gras mousse, cinnamon sugar, served with hot milk chocolate infused with cinnamon, Lustau sherry and coffee.
      By the time I remembered to take a pic, I'd eaten half of the churro. Dunk the churro into the chocolate.

      Dulce de leche spooned atop pear sorbet with chunks of Asian pear, macadamia nut butter

      Pecan ice cream, candied pecans, shortbread cookie, apples, clarified butter
      The cookie was on top of the apples. Break the cookie and spoon everything over.

      Cherry extract digestif, vermouth, sweet Mexican lime
      We'll definitely return. I'm an instant fan.
      Prepaid tix were $230 per person, plus there were additional charges due to wine pairings. It's worth every cent you'll spend.
      3115 22nd Street (South Van Ness)
      Mission District
    • By SNewman004
      I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with a manual tortilla machine / maker. I am not talking about a tortilla press. This machine basically takes a batch of masa dough that is placed on top, through a roller with a cutter, using a hand crank. The machine will flatten and cut uniform size tortillas. I've been looking at the Monarca brand. The reviews seem to be below average. I'm trying to find ways to shave some labor dollars without sacrificing quality. Our restaurant goes through an average of 300 to 500 tortillas a day depending on business. Thanks for your help!

    • By SNewman004
      'Our menu is based on Mexican and Latin American flavors, therefor we can't not have fresh guacamole. We fly through the stuff!! One recipe uses 72 avocados which yields about 20 quarts of guacamole. We go through this amount almost every day. On top of having someone (or a couple of) people pressing fresh tortillas, we are spending a lot of time on this menu item. I can't think of any way to make the guacamole less labor intensive without sacrificing the quality. I have considered table side, or to-order made guac. Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks!
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.