As promised (albeit a couple of days later) - a dictionary of chiles. Honestly had I not said I was going to do it in my last post, I'd move on to the new recipes I want to post - because I really want to post them. YUM. But, This will serve me as much as anything. It is always easier to pull up my blog than pull out a million cookbooks or search the internet for info. Most of the info here comes from my Healthy Latin Cooking cookbook, online -see links, or just what I know.) So, here goes.
First up - Fresh chiles
Ahi Dulce (Cachucha) - very mild - think bell pepper mild, small and colorful (red, yellow, green, orange.) These look a lot like a habanero, but without the heat. I actually saw and used them a lot in Venezuela, but not here. Can sub out bell peppers. Also, not to be confused with Aji amarillo (see dried chiles below) which I just learned about a few weeks ago when we made some Peruvian food with a friend.
Anaheim -mild to moderately hot, 6-8 inches long 1-1.5 inches wide. Also known as California, california green, and chile verde. If allowed to ripen, it is know as California red
Cubanelle - mild flavor, yellow or light green, about the size of the Anaheim. Anaheim chile can be substituted if you can't find these.
Habanero - World's hottest chile (although I've seen show on food network that say otherwise.) It is 50 times hotter than a jalapeno. More or less the size and shape of a walnut. Can be green, yellow, orange, or red.
Jalapeno - moderately hot, bullet shaped 2-3 inches long. Older jalapenos have a striated skin and are usually hotter. Smoked and dried they are known as chipotle. Also popular pickled.
Poblano - mild flavor, large (4 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide) dark green chile. When dried, known as ancho chile.
Rocotillo -very mild - also very small (think tip of your thumb) orange, yellow or pale green. Used in Spanish-Carribean cooking. Can sub aji dulce/cachucha, or chopped red bell pepper.
Serrano- moderately hot, small (long and thin), bright red or green. Similar in flavor to Jalapeno and can be subbed for or with jalapeno.
Dried chiles - I must admit in this arena I'm relying much more heavily on research. I haven't used nearly as many dried chiles as fresh.
Aji amarillo - moderately hot my book says "fiery and fruity." Long and narrow (3-4 inches long, 1/2-3/4 inch wide) Chile of Peru. Comes dried, powdered, or in a paste. (I have to say that when I used it, I used a paste that my Peruvian friend had given me because I couldn't find the chile in the store. I used it to make a rice that was quite tasty - guess I should post the recipe. :)
Aji mirasol - medium hot, similar to aji amarillo but bigger, darker and more mild.
Ancho - Dried poblano. Relatively mild, large (3-4 inches long, 2-3 inches wide) flat and reddish black. These seem pretty easy to find in the store and I have used them a few times lately. Most recently in black bean burritos. (recipe to follow soon.)
Cascabel -hot and slightly sweet. Small, reddish-brown round shape whose seeds rattle when shaken. (Cascabel means sleighbell)
Chipotle - smoke dried jalapeno. Come in 2 varieties and 2 forms. a larger tan-brown one, and a smaller redder one which is sweeter and less expensive. They can come dried or canned in adobo sauce. I've also found chipotle chile powder which I commonly substitute for the actual chiles just because it is much easier and I can control the spice and still get the nice smokey flavor of the chipotle.
To be continued.....
My book still lists an entire page more of dried chiles, but I don't think I've used any of them - at least not recently, so it will wait until another day. :) This gives me a good start of chiles I've used (most of them anyway) I plan to add to the list as I come across new chiles in other recipes making this a work in progress.