Chilaca Peppers in album food

In Albums:food peppers produce

Long, wrinkly, very dark green chili peppers

Feb 27th, 2011, by Alex Zorach

These are chilaca peppers, a variety of pepper that is little-known in the United States and most western countries, but that is a staple in some sorts of Mexican cooking.

These chili peppers are very mild, having barely detectable (but still noticable to the discerning) heat, placing them somewhere between a sweet pepper and a poblano in terms of their spiciness. However, like all hot peppers, the amount of heat is highly variable: I have occasionally encountered a hotter one of these, which can be problematic if you throw it in a dish for flavor, not expecting the heat. The hottest part of a chilaca pepper tends to be about an inch below the stem, towards the top of the pepper but where it is widest. Taste this part on each individual pepper before using them for cooking.

The primary use of these peppers is to dry them and make chiles negros, also called pasilla. However, I have found them to be remarkably useful and versatile fresh.

For people familiar with poblano peppers, chilaca peppers are much milder, have fewer seeds, and are longer and more wrinkly. The aroma and flavor profile are somewhat similar, but I find chilacas to be warmer and deeper tasting, almost continuing farther along the spectrum from green bell peppers to poblanos, in terms of their overall character.