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Gift of dried chili peppers


Anna N
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My soon to be DIL visited the Kensington Market in Toronto recently and returned with a gift for me - dried chile peppers. There are three types -Ancho (which I recognize) and two others and the hand writing on the labels is a bit hard to read but one seems to say "Chile Huaque" and the other "Chile Aji Amarillo (Yellow). I have never tasted any of these but am very interested in trying them. What do you suggest?

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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The ancho is fairly mild.

I would guess the second is a chile guajillo, as it is pronounced waheeyo and alternate spelling uses the h. This one has more heat than the ancho and a slight licorice flavor, often used in hearty stews.

The aji chile is HOT. Not as hot as the habanero, but considerably hotter than a serrano.

The best way to test the flavor and heat is to cut off a small piece at the tip, where there is less heat, make sure no seeds, then pour warm water over the piece and allow it to soak for a couple of hours.

put a very small drop on the corner of a saltine and taste it, carefully. This is the best way to guage the flavor as there is no other flavor to override the chile flavor. If it is too hot then you know you use just a little in a recipe.

For the very hot peppers it often only takes a portion of a small pepper to flavor an entire pot of stew or soup.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Could the "Chile Huaque" be a chilhauque negro - the one that's difficult to find even in Oaxaca, that is the favorite chile for making Mole Negro - if so, it's a real find and goes for "$20+ a pound when happened upon....it's short and squatty - about two inches across at the top and about two inches long, dark purplish brown.

Edited by memesuze (log)
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The best way to test the flavor and heat is to cut off a small piece at the tip, where there is less heat, make sure no seeds, then pour warm water over the piece and allow it to soak for a couple of hours. 

put a very small drop on the corner of a saltine and taste it, carefully.  This is the best way to guage the flavor as there is no other flavor to override the chile flavor.  If it is too hot then you know you use just a little in a recipe. 

For the very hot peppers it often only takes a portion of a small pepper to flavor an entire pot of stew or soup.

Thank you - chile tasting scheduled for Wednesday! The ancho smells really, really smoky!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Could the "Chile Huaque" be a chilhauque negro - the one that's difficult to find even in Oaxaca, that is the favorite chile for making Mole Negro - if so, it's a real find and goes for "$20+ a pound when happened upon....it's short and squatty - about two inches across at the top and about two inches long, dark purplish brown.

This is what they look like so I don't think that the chilhauque negro is one of them. They are much too large, I think.

gallery_6903_371_1102353471.jpg

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Ditto, the huaque is definitely not a chilhuacle negro, I finished the last of mine recently. The huaque could be a guajillo, but my guajillos are more smooth skinned as opposed to wrinkly. It makes me think they are either achile California or chile New Mexico. Those darn chilies, they never cease to confuse me.

But those chile amarillos you have, they are really good and really fiery, even without the seeds. There is a recipe in the D. Kennedy book, My Mexico, for Mole de Iguana Negra, pg.423. Of course you will be substituing the iguana for baby back ribs. But I used the amarillo in place of the costenos and man, it is good.

And I would go with the ancho guess, although I can't read what the little paper title inserted in the bag says.

If they are anchos, they are a nice size, what they called primeras, maybe? What will you do with them?

Shelora

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Ditto, the huaque is definitely not a chilhuacle negro, I finished the last of mine recently. The huaque could be a guajillo, but my guajillos are more smooth skinned as opposed to wrinkly. It makes me think they are either achile California or chile New Mexico. Those darn chilies, they never cease to confuse me.

But those chile amarillos you have, they are really good and really fiery, even without the seeds. There is a recipe in the D. Kennedy book, My Mexico, for Mole de Iguana Negra, pg.423. Of course you will be substituing the iguana for baby back ribs. But I used the amarillo in place of the costenos and man, it is good.

And I would go with the ancho guess, although I can't read what the little paper title inserted in the bag says.

If they are anchos, they are a nice size, what they called primeras, maybe? What will you do with them?

Shelora

The anchos are beautifully leathery - which I understand is just the way they should be.

What am I going to do with any of these? Throw my self on the gentle mercy of egullet and hope for some suggestions. :biggrin:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I have cooked extensively with the books of Diane Kennedy and have studied Mexican cooking for many years. Which means I know a liittle more than very little - the cuisine, like D.K. says, would take an entire lifetime to learn. Actually, for me, even longer.

For a first timer, I recommend making the classic chile rellenos out of the anchos or the even more classic picadillo.

Your library should have some of D.K.'s books. Go for The Art of Mexican Cooking first.

The chile relleno is easy. Hydrated the chiles in hot water, remove the seeds, pat the chile dry, stuff with cheese, roll in a little flour, dip in batter and deep fry until golden.

The procedure for the stuffing, the batter, deep frying and the accompanying sauce (caldo de tomate) is all in the book.

If this doesn't appeal, I'd go for a picadillo recipe which gives you a nice blend of the Spanish influences. Picadillo is mostly a meat mixture of either chicken, pork and why not, ground turkey?

It is sauteed along with onions, garlic, tomato, olives, capers, herbs, raisins, etc. There are many variations and many Mexican cook books that should include a recipe for picadillo.

This mixture is stuffed into the ancho, which has been hydrated of course, in hot water until soft, but not mushy! Seeds and veins removed from the inside and the picadillo mixture stuffed inside. You can make that dish ahead and heat in a bit of sauce or liquid, in the oven, covered at 350 or until heated through.

Careful with the guajillos, if thats what they are. Guajillos have very tough skins that aren't too appetizing when included in a mole. After blending them, make sure they put through a strainer to remove those tough bits.

The book, The Art of also has some classic salsas and simple stews. It's a great book. Even if your library doesn't have it, I suggest buying yourself one.

Have fun and let us know what you did with them. And don't be afraid to experiment.

All the best,

Shelora

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Sadly, I don't think I will be much of an inspiration for you.

My solution would be whatever chiles aren't directly revived for cooking purposes get ground into pepper flakes to be added into everything from pasta dishes to stews & chilis to eggs, etc.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Anna, I seem to recall you make use of the library, so, as shelora suggested, check out something by Madhur Jaffrey. I am currently totally engrossed with her Curries to Kebabs. The food is so good, and the recipes are so easy, I am kicking myself for not having read her in awhile. The tastes are very similar, and there's a nice change of perspective on flavors and the use of many familiar ingredients. Lucky you! Looks like that future DIL is getting properly acclimated!

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I'd also suggest Zarela Martinez' two cookbooks, The Food and Life of Oaxaca and Food From My Heart and Diana Kennedy's From My Mexican Kitchen - the latter takes the basic ingredients and makes them into the basic recipes - great pictures as well

Edited by memesuze (log)
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I have been thinking about how you can use these to best advantage.

I also visited the Mexican market and checked the guajillo peppers and many look exactly like the one pictured. Some are smooth but many have the slightly wrinkled appearance.

I have seen the alternate spelling used by people from the Yucatan for these peppers.

Regional differences in language is the same in Mexico as it is here.

Consider that a chayote in California is a mirliton in Louisana!

Anyway,

I suggest you visit The Pepper Fool.

There is a wide range of recipes for all types of foods and Rob knows his peppers.

There are also some great links to other pepper sites with even more recipes.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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The Aji Amarillo is the most used chile in Peruvian cooking. You see lots of yellow sauces in Peru. I just returned from the neighborhood Latin American store and bought a packet of eight dried chiles imported from Peru for a bit less than US$2. I wonder if they are the same type used in Mexico?

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Thank you for all your suggestions. I have not yet experimented as a family emergency is currently occupying all of my time and thoughts but I will get back to my peppers when this is resolved.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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