pasilla chile pepper

whole
refill
1 oz
$4
large refill
3 oz
$10
view packaging
VARIANTS
whole
powder
The dried form of a chilaca pepper is called a pasilla chile. It is dark brown in color, about 8-10" long, and is slender with a narrow curving shape. Though it is dried, it should still be pliable to the touch. Pasilla chile's hue is called achocolatado in Mexico, meaning "chocolate colored." Its deep brown color is due to its retention of chlorophyll and of capsanthin, which is a natural compound common in chile peppers. Capsanthin is also a natural red dye or food coloring.

Pasillas have a rich smoky taste with earthy notes. This smoky profile is similar to—but perhaps even more intense than—chipotle (morita) chiles. They also have a slight raisin-like aroma, are complexly layered in their flavor, and are mild in their heat. They pair well with fruits and seafoods, as well as rich meats like duck and lamb.

Along with ancho and guajillo chiles, the pasilla chile is one of the most popular types in Mexican cooking and can be rehydrated and used for moles, table sauces, and salsas.
QUICK INFO
pasilla chile pepper , whole
INGREDIENTS
Pasilla chile pepper
TASTING NOTES
Smoky taste with earthy notes. Mild heat.
AROMA
Slightly raisin-like in aroma.
SCOVILLE HEAT UNITS
1,000 - 2,000 SHU
CHARACTERISTICS
Long and slender, dark brown to purple-black in color (raisin-like). Wrinkly skin. Pliable when dried pepper is still fresh.
PAIRINGS
Ancho chile pepper, guajillo chile pepper
SUBSTITUTIONS
Can be replaced with ancho chile pepper, but ancho chiles are spicier in general.
USAGE
Often paired with ancho and guajillo chiles in Mexican dishes. Rehydrate and use in moles, cream sauces and salsas; or with rich meats and chilis.
PLANT PART
fruit / berry
PROCESSING / FORM
whole
BOTANICAL NAME
Capsicum annuum
ORIGIN
Mexico
BOTANICAL NAME
Capsicum annuum
AKA
pasilla chili
pasilla pepper
pasilla bajio
chile negro
The Capsicum annuum plant produces the pepper fruit that is a common source of many spices that range in heat and flavor: paprikas, chiles, and cayennes all are derived from variations of this pepper plant.

The burning sensation of 'spicy heat' from these peppers is from the capsaicin the plant contains. Capsaicin is a chemical compound that stimulates and then decreases pain signals in the body. It is an irritant and will affect any tissue with which it has direct contact. Despite this, many people seek out and enjoy its flavor and the sensation it provokes.

Fresh Capsicum annum peppers have many familiar names: bell, jalapeño, poblano, guajillo, etc. Once dried, the name of the pepper often changes: the chilicaca becomes pasilla; poblano becomes ancho; morita jalapeño becomes chipotle.
CONFUSIONS

It's chill
In the 17th century Spanish-speaking Mexicans adopted the Aztec name for spicy peppers: chilli (Nahuatl language). At that time they modified it to its current spelling of chile, this moniker has also been adopted by the Spanish-language influenced American Southwest.

Exported and anglicized in the 17th century it ironically appears again spelled as chilli in English texts of that age. Americans simplified this to chili, with a single "l". In the early 1800s the popular frontier dish "chili" was concocted and the spice blend marketed to make this favorite at home was called chili powder. Today it contains a blend of spices which often includes cumin, oregano, paprika and one or two different types of ground chile peppers.

In culinary circles in the U.S. it has become practice to defer to the Spanish spelling when referring to a single pepper variety. Chili with an "i" ending is reserved for the spice blend.

USAGE HINT

The California produce industry calls the poblano chile pepper (which when dried makes ancho peppers) a "pasilla"; which is actually a perpetuated misnomer. Pasilla are dried chilaca's and are therefore long and thin, dark red.
Additional pasilla confusion occurs in pasilla de Oaxaca which is smoked variety of chile from Oaxaca unrelated to ordinary pasilla; and also in the moniker pasilla negra which might actually be a mulato chile, which is a dried poblano pepper that have been allowed to ripen longer than other poblanos picked and dried earlier to become ancho chiles.

QUICK FACT

Pasilla means "little raisin." In addition to this being an allusion the chile's dark color, and wrinkled surface, the chile actually smells raisiny.

 
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