The guajillo pepper should be on your shortlist if you prefer your chilies on the slightly sweeter side. Second only to the well-known ancho pepper in terms of popularity among dried chilies in Mexico, the guajillo has notes of tart cranberry and the crispness of tea. The guajillo, along with the ancho, is a member of the holy trinity of chilies that are frequently used in traditional Mexican mole sauces. It has a surprising culinary variety and a medium that almost everyone can appreciate.
A guajillo chili, guajillo chile, chile guaco, or chile guajillo in Spanish. The dried poblano chili variety known as anchos is the most popular dried chili in Mexican cuisine, followed by the landrace variety of chile pepper known as guajillo. Guajillo chilies are one of the main products of the Mexican state of Zacatecas. The size and heat characteristics of the two main varieties allow for differentiation. The smaller and hotter of the two is the guajillo puya. The longer, wider guajillo, on the other hand, has a more pronounced, richer flavor and is a little less spicy. Its heat is rated between 2,500 and 5,000 on the Scoville scale, which is mild to medium..
How Hot Are The Guajillo Chili Peppers?
Guajillo peppers are medium-hot chilies with a Scoville heat rating of between 2,500 and 5,000. (SHU). The guajillo is frequently as hot as our reference pepper, the jalapeo (2,500 to 8,000 SHU), but the jalapeño can get quite a bit hotter. There is undoubtedly a kick in this, but it leans more toward medium heat. As a result, many people can tolerate the level of heat in this chili.
The Holy Trinity of Mexican chilies, which also includes the ancho, pasilla, and guajillo, includes guajillos. The guajillo is the spiciest of the three chilies, which are essential ingredients for mole sauces. The SHU of an ancho pepper (dried poblano) is between 1,000 and 1,500, and that of a chili is between 1,000 and 2,500.
What Does Guajillo Chili Peppers Look Like?
The texture of the guajillo is wrinkled, like a raisin. It has a slight curve and is about an inch wide and four to six inches long. Their coloring ranges from reddish-brown to dark brown. The age at which the chilies are picked as well as the drying process are both to blame for this. On the vine, young mirasol peppers are allowed to develop from their youthful green color to their mature red hue. They are selected when they are red to be dried into guajillos.
What Do Guajillo Peppers Taste Like?
The guajillo has a rich variety of flavors. They are first and foremost sweet—much sweeter than you might anticipate. Along with it, there is a hint of crispness akin to tea, along with tanginess (conjure up cranberry). Its flavor also has a subtle smokiness to it. It’s clear why people adore this chili because it’s quite complex.
What Are Guajillo Peppers Used For?
Traditional mole sauces include guajillos as well as the peppers pasilla, ancho, and pasilla. Occasionally, along with the dark mulato pepper, they are referred to as the “holy trinity” of Mexican chile peppers, though that is a very general term. They work well in salsa for tamales, as well as in sauces, soups, and chili. To flavor meat or to make homemade harissa, a chili paste used in Tunisian cuisine, they can be ground down into a paste or rub.
The dried chiles are typically offered in whole, dried form, which can then be ground into powder, toasted, or rehydrated and turned into a paste or sauce. Additionally, it might be offered for sale as already-ground powder. To determine your preferred level of flavor, experiment first as a little of this pepper goes a long way.
Cooking Using Guajillo Chili Pepper
The ancho pepper is the most widely used pepper in their native Mexico, followed by the guajillo. They are, as was previously stated, a component of the Holy Trinity of Mexican chilies used in traditional Mexican mole sauces. It’s also very common in harissa chili paste, which is surprising considering that harissa is a North African condiment. You can add guajillo pepper in your healthy diet for winter season. This chili is originally from Mexico, but it is also grown in other countries like the United States, China, and Peru.
Guajillo chilies are used to flavor meats, fat, and oil when combined with other ingredients in marinades, salsas, pastes, butters, and spice rubs. The milder flavor of the guajillo chili pairs well with fish, chicken, and salsa as a side dish. Relajo, a spice blend from El Salvador, also contains guajillo chilies. Guajillo chilies are referred to as chile guaco in El Salvador.
This chili opens up a whole new world of culinary exploration beyond mole sauce and harissa chili paste. It’s fun to experiment with because of its distinctive flavor, especially when combined with sweet sauces and fruits. To use it in sauces, marinades, soups, and stews, it can be rehydrated in water. Alternatively, turn the dried chili into a powder and use it to add some extra heat to rich desserts.
Ancho as a Substitute of Guajillo Chili Pepper
Although the flavors are different, ancho peppers can be substituted for guajillo chile peppers in any recipe. Guajillos are a little fruitier with notes of green tea, whereas anchos have a darker, earthier flavor. They actually perform incredibly well when combined. With that, you can still eat organic while on a tight budget.
Although there is a flavor and heat difference, the ancho is probably your best alternative. Anchos are much milder than guajillo, and while they still have a sweet, smoky, and earthy flavor, they lack that tang.
The Closest in Flavor
Another Mexican chili that is a part of the “Holy Trinity” is the pasilla pepper, also known as the chile negro. They are hotter than ancho peppers but not as hot as guajillos when they are at their hottest (1,000 to 2,500 SHU).
Additionally, the flavors are also better suited as a guajillo substitute, not just the spiciness. Pasillas have berry and cocoa undertones and are only mildly sweet. Although it doesn’t quite match the guajillo’s earthier, more tea-like flavor, it comes close.