Mexican chillies aren’t just for Mexican cooking. Pop a packet of pasilla chillies in your store cupboard, and you’ll soon start discovering how easy it is to enhance dishes with their smoky, fruity heat.
Simply soak a couple of pasilla chillies in hot (not-boiling) kettle water for ten minutes. Pour away the bitter, coloured water and then blend the plumped-up chillies into a dip or marinade – or slice them thinly and add the slivers to a spicy squash stew.
Alternatively, rip off the stem and then blitz a dried pasilla chilli in a grinder to create a paprika-like powder. It’s great for giving soups, stews and homemade salsas a flavour boost.
Dried pasilla are part of the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Mexican chillies – along with ancho and guajillo. They are the hottest of the three chillies, but the flavour is still more fruity and smoky than singularly hot. Traditionally, pasilla chillies might be used for a birria stew or mole sauce. There’s no need to stick to Mexican recipes though – a combination of dried chillies are great when rehydrated and blended into a homemade harissa or used in a fruity-spiced ketchup.
Pasilla chillies are a sun-dried version of the chilaca chilli pepper. They originate in Mexico, which is where we import ours from – thanks to the perfect climate and hot sun which dries the chillies on the vine, where they ripen, darken and the flavours intensify.
Pasilla chillies are a robust ingredient with a long shelf-life. Though they don’t lose their potency, it’s good practice to keep them out of direct sunlight to prevent them from fading.
The ingredient capsaicin, which is found in chillies, is thought to boost the metabolism, burn calories and satiate appetites. Studies also indicate that eating spicy foods on a regular basis may reduce mortality rates, for more information click HERE.
ALSO KNOWN AS: Capsicum Annuum, Chilaca chilli pepper