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Chipotle versus chiles moras


shelora
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Hello there,

Excellent image Theobroma of the smokin' chilies in Nayarit. For purposes of clarification, is a chile mora a mini jalapeno or another variety? Is a chile morita an even smaller version of a jalapeno? The very brown and crinkley looking dried jalapeno (chipotle) looks very different than the dried chile mora and moritas I have staring at me.

The cans of chile chipotles in adobo are quite small and plump. I assuming they are mostly chile moras or moritas?

Why is chilie identification so complicated?

s

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Hey, there! I came back from Chihuahua with photos of some chiles pasados hanging on little clotheslines to dry.

Okay, you know that mora means 'mulberry' and 'morita', little mulberry. The general concensus is that a mora is a bluish-red as opposed to an orangey-red, small dried chile. Confusing? Just warming up. Moras are several varieties of small, red chiles, wrinkly and dark when dried. So something in the guajillo/puya family would never be called a mora because, in part, they are orangey red and do not wrinkle up when they are dried, to resemble the fruit of the mulberry tree.

In some areas the morita is a small mora. However, most commonly, a morita once was a small jalapeno, bush ripened, and smoke dried. Unless, of course, it was a small chile serrano, bush ripened and smoke dried.

Don't forget, however, the chile meco, another type of chipotle: a huge jalapeno with those striations on it's flesh that look like stretch marks, and are known as 'corking.' It is used ripened and smoke dried, and turn our a rough textured, tan color. This one is toasted, soaked, and stuffed. They are hot, but not so hot as the smaller, redder chipotles.

These are all common names from different regions of the country, and they are exquisitely confusing. EG: chile jalapeno 'chile from Xalapa, Veracruz' and chile cuaresmen~o 'Easter chile', is the same thing, if you aren't from around Xalapa, then it's the chile that fruits around Easter time.

I have a list which is an appendix from a book on chiles that I am translating - it goes on for pages and pages, all local names which the author has tied to the many fewer distinct varieties of chile. Even a chile botanist will tell you what a nightmare it is.

Also remember that chiles are air pollinators and they crossbreed at the drop of a hat. So many of the chiles called pequin, tepin, tecpin, pico de pajaro, pico de gallo, chile garbanzo, chile capulin, etc. are varieties of what we know as a pequin. (I regress to the etymology, because I love this one: chile pequin or piquin is the hispanization of chilli tecpin from Nahuatl 'tecpin' or flea. Comment on its size.)

From the cook's viewpoint, I find that the dried jalapeno and serrano, especially the smoke dried ones have comparable flavor, and the serrano tends to have a bit more heat. Otherwise, they are basically interchangeable. In their green state, however, they are rather different: the jalapeno, w/varying degrees of heat, and a generally grassy, vegetal flavor which the serrano tastes green, with a sharp onset of heat.

The Chihuahuan chile pasado, or 'past-tense chile' is a chilaca (when dried it is the long skinny chile pasilla), roasted, peeled, slit down one side and seeded, and then literally hung out to dry. It is used in guisos. It's not a beauty queen, as you might imagine, but it has a wonderful taste and adds a great, subtle heat dimension to food.

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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Thanks for clarifying my confusion!

Okay, we have the chile meco which is another type of Jalapeno, when it is smoke dried. So when you see the fresh green jalapeno with those woody striations on them, is that a chile meco as well or is that something else?

Is a dried serrano still called a serrano?

Good God!

By the way, I'll take fresh serranos over jalapenos any day, I love their grassy flavour and aroma and there sweet heat.

Keep it coming.

s

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Apparently, you have jalapenos that are smooth, and slick surfaced, some are tinged with a dark purple, and some are covered with striations. Those striations are referred to as the chile being 'acorchado', or 'corked.' They're like any other jalapeno - generally speaking, I don't think that it is reconizably a different 'kind' of jalapeno. I believe corking is a naturally occurring thing, not something from another species or bred in by some professional hybridizer. It may result from heat and/or water stress at some point in its formation, and some varieties may be more susceptible to corking than others. Once it is established as something desirable for the table, however, you can be certain that people will begin to select and retain seeds from the best examples of size and corking, to plant for the next crop. So, in that sense, over time, it may be a little different than the 'average' jalapeno.

My guess is that the drying and smoking of chiles was practiced to preserve a large fresh harvest for later use. Jalapenos, which have thick, fleshy walls, would mold and rot before they would drying out; you see the thin walled chiles like Chimayos, New Mexicos, guajillos, etc strung in ristras to dry, not the fat ones. They require some extra step, and smoke drying seemed to be the step of choice.

I've read that they some fleshy green chiles like a jalapeno or serrano have been preserved in their green state by grinding the chile on a metate, and then smearing the resulting paste on a hot, flat rock in the summer sun. The resulting 'chile leather' when dry, was rolled into quills and stored to be used after the growing season ended in soups and stews. The source is from New Mexico, and certainly the dry climate and summer heat - not to mention the abundance of flat, hot rocks - makes it plausible. But that source is not the most reliable for other things, so I don't know what to say. It is both an appealing thought and technique.

In markets in eastern Central Mexico there will be piles or burlap bags of chiles, with signs stuck in them reading "Mulato" or "Ancho", etc. so much the kilo or quarter kilo. When you get to the chipotle section, the signs often read "Chipotles" for the dark, dark, wrinkly red ones, and "Meco" for the big, crumply, dun colored ones.

But as far as I know, only the big, corked, smoked, tan or dun colored ones are referred to as 'chile meco.'

You're absolutely correct: chile names are really crazy-making, and sometimes, using the usual criteria of size, shape, etc. you wind up wondering if it's a tiny jalapeno, or a short, fat serrano (there is a small serrano that is commonly called 'chile balin', or 'bullet chile,' because of its shape and size.).

These are the things that keep me fascinated and wind me up to come back for more.

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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Such incredible information. I like the idea of having a chile leather. So here I have chile moras and moritas. What to do?

I know I have seen carrots and onion en vinagre with some chile moras as a wonderful condiment. does anyone have any other suggestions on what to do with my chile moras? I don't really have the set up to smoke any of them, so just soaking or toasting, grinding. Do you think it would be nice to stuff them, tedious yes, but .....

s

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Theabroma, thanks for finally suggesting a plausible answer to something that has puzzled me for ages, that is why smoke certain chiles? It also suggests that smoking chiles is an old technique, something I've not been able to get any information on. And like Shelora, I think that chile leather has great possibilities. The next culinary trend? il

Is it your sense that the canned chipotle in adobo has really taken off in the last few years?

And Shelora, if you come across some great recipes please pass them on. I've got a pile in my pantry and having been trying to rouse the energy to do something with them,

Rachel

Rachel Caroline Laudan

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  • 3 weeks later...

Feel like a little pain and martyrdom with your next meal? Try stuffing 25 chile moras for what I thought was a great idea for a bocadita.

Those things are stuffed with seeds! And gloves just don't cut it, people!! I have spent this Friday evening cutting tons of seeds out after toasting and soaking those plump little seducers.

I made a picadillo de puerco with you know that usual capers, olives, herbs, tomatoes, onions, garlic and thought, hey, I've got an idea. Let's stuff those chile moras sitting in their ziplock bags!

They taste great, but hey, theres got to be something a little easier to do with those chiles.

I'm doing a six course Dia de Los Muertos dinner tomorrow night and now with burning finger tips, I'm doing prep.

Here is my menu

100% Agave Tequila served in a Cucumber Cup

Sangrita

Bocaditas of Roasted Jalapenos stuffed with a minted goat cheese and chile moras plump with a picadillo (heated in a bit of tequila and orange juice).

Classic Tortilla Soup with avacado and strips of smoked Chile pasilla de Oaxaca.

Tamalitos of wild chanterelles and hoja santa (from my garden) with a salsa duo ( roasted tomatillo salsa and a smoked pasilla salsa).

Organic Spinach Salad tossed with Marcona almonds and cotilla cheese, citrus and herb vinaigrette.

Mole Negro

A recipe from the Mendoza family of Teotitlan del Valle. Ove 17 ingredients - herbs, tomatoes, tomatillos, nuts, spices an chocolate. Served with organic chicken.

Arroz Verde (green with poblano chile and cilantro)

Warm Corn Tortillas

Flan de Frijol de Vanilla y Canela

Cafe

Tons of wine.

The corn husks are soaking and I'm heading off for a good nights sleep.

My partner is busy making sugar skulls for the guests and we are setting up the altar.

Hope all my amigos and amigas out there are planning on even a little celebration this holiday weekend.

Buen Provecho!

Shelora

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  • 11 months later...
Hey, there!  I came back from Chihuahua with photos of some chiles pasados hanging on little clotheslines to dry. 

Okay, you know that mora means 'mulberry' and 'morita', little mulberry.  The general concensus is that a mora is a bluish-red as opposed to an orangey-red, small dried chile.  Confusing?  Just warming up.  Moras are several varieties of small, red chiles, wrinkly and dark when dried.  So something in the guajillo/puya family would never be called a mora because, in part, they are orangey red and do not wrinkle up when they are dried, to resemble the fruit of the mulberry tree.

In some areas the morita is a small mora.  However, most commonly, a morita once was a small jalapeno, bush ripened, and smoke dried.  Unless, of course, it was a small chile serrano, bush ripened and smoke dried.

Don't forget, however, the chile meco, another type of chipotle:  a huge jalapeno with those striations on it's flesh that look like stretch marks, and are known as 'corking.'  It is used ripened and smoke dried, and turn our a rough textured, tan color.  This one is toasted, soaked, and stuffed.  They are hot, but not so hot as the smaller, redder chipotles.  

These are all common names from different regions of the country, and they are exquisitely confusing.  EG:  chile jalapeno 'chile from Xalapa, Veracruz' and chile cuaresmen~o 'Easter chile', is the same thing, if you aren't from around Xalapa, then it's the chile that fruits around Easter time.

I have a list which is an appendix from a book on chiles that I am translating - it goes on for pages and pages, all local names which the author has tied to the many fewer distinct varieties of chile.  Even a chile botanist will tell you what a nightmare it is.

Also remember that chiles are air pollinators and they crossbreed at the drop of a hat.  So many of the chiles called pequin, tepin, tecpin, pico de pajaro, pico de gallo, chile garbanzo, chile capulin, etc.  are varieties of what we know as a pequin.  (I regress to the etymology, because I love this one:  chile pequin or piquin is the hispanization of chilli tecpin from Nahuatl 'tecpin' or flea.  Comment on its size.)

From the cook's viewpoint, I find that the dried jalapeno and serrano, especially the smoke dried ones have comparable flavor, and the serrano tends to have a bit more heat.  Otherwise, they are basically interchangeable.  In their green state, however, they are rather different:  the jalapeno, w/varying degrees of heat, and a generally grassy, vegetal flavor which the serrano tastes green, with a sharp onset of heat.

The Chihuahuan chile pasado, or 'past-tense chile' is a chilaca (when dried it is the long skinny chile pasilla), roasted, peeled, slit down one side and seeded, and then literally hung out to dry.  It is used in guisos.  It's not a beauty queen, as you might imagine, but it has a wonderful taste and adds a great, subtle heat dimension to food.

Theabroma

Okay, this is a great thread to resurrect. I forgot about the chile meco/chipotle connection. I was at one of our local organic markets (Moss St.) and one of the farmers had jalapenos for sale with the corking on it. He and I couldn't remember the name (meco), so I will email him.

I have a bag of these mecos dried and want to use them soon. ( I'm in a cooking frenzy these days).

Any recommendations of what to stuff the chile meco/dried chipotle/jalapeno with?

I had them once in D.F. and they were on the sweet side. Perhaps I'll just look that up and continue resurrecting old threads on this forum and talking to myself!

:laugh:

Dear Diary,

Found the dish in my food journal from last year.

They were called chilitos and I ordered them at Las Sirenas in D.F. Three chile chipotles/mecos were stuffed with shredded chicken, walnuts with a bit of piloncillo. They were also battered, then the dish was drizzled with a sweet crema, thin in consistency. Really delicious, very rich.

s

Edited by shelora (log)
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Las Sirenas has the BEST margaritas. Tart, potent, and not at all overpowering. The queso fundido is pretty great, also!

I am, unfortunately, away from my recipe database and my books. I know that Ricardo Munoz Zurita's book Chiles Rellenos has a recipe for mecos stuffed with tuna. I would toast them, soak them, seed them, and stuff them with a shredded chicken or pork picadilllo. I would drizzle them with crema and top them with cebollas moradas encurtidas. Or else, stuff them with queso menonita or queso quesillo de Oaxaca, and a salsa verde or salsa de chipotle, or with a salsa de mole oaxaqueno.

Best regards,

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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Las Sirenas has the BEST margaritas.  Tart, potent, and not at all overpowering.  The queso fundido is pretty great, also!

I am, unfortunately, away from my recipe database and my books.  I know that Ricardo Munoz Zurita's book Chiles Rellenos has a recipe for mecos stuffed with tuna.  I would toast them, soak them, seed them, and stuff them with a shredded chicken or pork picadilllo.  I would drizzle them with crema and top them with cebollas moradas encurtidas.  Or else, stuff them with queso menonita or queso quesillo de Oaxaca, and a salsa verde or salsa de chipotle, or with a salsa de mole oaxaqueno.

Best regards,

Theabroma

Thanks for reminding about that book again. I need that book.

With the cheese filling, would you batter them or just heat to melt the cheese?

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