A Dozen Varieties of Mexican Chile 🌶️🌶️🌶️
From mildest to hottest (on a scale of 1 mildest to 10 hottest), here is a sampling of “chile” peppers from the species Capsicum annuum that are found in Mexico. When you wander the markets here you can spot the tables heaped with chiles from bright red to black, whole, powdered, or turned into various pastes.
(1) Poblano (3-4) — Dark green, triangular, shiny chile often served roasted and peeled, often fried or stuffed (used for chile relleno).
(2) Ancho (3-4) — Dried Poblano, it is a deep red-brown and wrinkled, with a fruity-sweet and slightly hot taste. Toast and find it for sauces or pastes. This is the most popular dried chile.
(3) Mulato (3-5) — A dried chile of chocolate-brown color. The taste is fruity and sweet with mild to moderate heat. Toast and grind for sauces and seasonings or soak them to rehydrate and blend into spices.
(4) Guajillo (4) — One of the most popular chilies, this brick-red chile approximately two fingers wide, with tough skin, is is highly acidic with a sharp, tangy taste. It is considered less sweet than Ancho and less hot than Jalapeño, so it is a good moderate choice. It is usually soaked and blended into sauces or crumbled into stews.
(5) Guëro (4-5) — A pale, smooth, long chile that is lightly floral and mildly to moderately hot. It is used fresh in salsas and moles. Depending on where it is found in Mexico, it may refer to the Caribe or the Caloro variety.
(6) Cascabel (4-5) — The seeds of this round, brown-red chile will rattle when the fruit is shaken.
Moderately hot, it is lightly acidic with a smoky flavor. Toast it and add it to salsas and stews.