Fresh chiles are an essential part of Mexican cooking. Jalapeño, Serrano, Poblano, Chipotle, Habanero, and a whole host more are popular in both their fresh and cooked forms in a large variety of Mexican dishes. Each chile serves its purpose and adds flavor and spice to the food providing different heat levels. Some kinds of chile also change their flavor profile when dried. For example, did you know that the very famous Chipotle chile is, in fact, the dried form of the Jalapeño pepper? Drying the Jalapeño gives it a smoky, sweet flavor and tastes phenomenal when used in salsas and aiolis.
Chile peppers tend to grow nice and hot when cultivated in hot and tropical climates like Mexico and most Latin American countries. Therefore, they feature an abundance of foods that make the best use of this fresh and spicy ingredient, making their cuisine unique, tongue-tingling, and utterly fantastic!
Grill ‘em, roast ‘em, fry ‘em, or just bite into ‘em. Whatever suits your fancy, these chile peppers will hold up to some intense processing and give their unique blend of spice and smokiness to elevate your meal.
Here are some of the most popular chiles used in Mexican cuisine.
The Jalapeño is a fresh chile, which can be found in its red or green form. The red ones tend to be sweeter in flavor than the green ones, which are usually spicy. Often used in pico de gallo or a traditional rellenos preparation, the Jalapeño is a popular and well-known chile pepper. When used in its dried form, the Jalapeño pepper is called the Chipotle chile.
Ripe Jalapeño chiles are smoked and dried to get the Chipotle chile peppers. They can then be ground into chipotle chile powder, used whole in dishes, or preserved in adobo sauce. Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce is an extremely popular condiment used to add oomphs of flavor to soups, salad dressing, and gravies. Here’s an interesting tidbit about Chipotle peppers. Believe it or not, the earthy, smoky flavor of the Chipotle chile is sometimes equated to that of bacon!
The Serrano pepper is somewhat smaller than the Jalapeno and can be red, brown, yellow, or green. They are a lot spicier than the Jalapeno and taste great in salsa, guacamole, relish, and sauces. They generally grow in mountainous regions with hot summers and mild winters. In Mexican cuisine, Serrano chiles are second in popularity only to the Jalapeño pepper. Serranos can be eaten raw in sauces and dips, pickled, or cooked.
Try the Sazón guacamole for a hint of Serrano!
The Poblano pepper is a large-sized green pepper with a mild heat level. Their thick skin makes them the perfect chile for roasting and stuffing with cheese and other condiments. They are also used while making Mole. When dried, Poblano pepper takes on a sweet, mellow, earthy flavor, and it is called the Ancho chile. The Ancho Chile is a popular pepper used in many Mexican and Latin dishes.
The Habanero is one of the spiciest chiles used in Mexican cuisine. These tiny lantern-shaped chiles pack a serious punch, and a little goes a long way. They can be red or yellow and are rated between 100,000 – 350,000 on the Scoville Scale, which measures the heat level of chile peppers. The Habanero is often included in the making of hot sauces. At Sazón, we use the Habanero to give our aioli a special kick to it.
Try Mexican Chiles At Sazòn
Chef Pablo uses these popular Mexican chiles in creative ways at Sazón. He builds layers of flavors with the chiles he uses in every dish. You can also enjoy the exclusive chile flavor with our Puebla Relleno. We stuff Poblano peppers and combine them with Sazón’s unique blend of Mexican cheeses before smothering it with salsa Azteca and garnishing it with crema fresca and cilantro.
If you like a little more heat, try our Bebe Rellenos, which has stuffed Jalapeños mixed with our unique blend of Mexican cheeses, topped with poblano crema.
Or try our enchiladas or any other dish with salsa verde to get a tangy hit of roasted chiles and tomatillos.
Come and join us at our dinner table and experience the savory flavors of chiles at Sazón. Call us today at (303) 627-5741 to make a reservation!