Guajillo chiles pronounced “wha – hee – oh” are of the chile species Capsicum annuum and this chile is the dried version of the Mirasol chile. Guajillo translates to "little gourd" for the rattling sound the seeds make when shaking the dried pods. The Guajillo is the second most popular chile in Mexcio surpassed only by the Ancho chiles. Guajillos are usually combined with Ancho and Pasilla chiles to make Mexican moles. Typically the Guajillo is sold as a whole chile and it is a bit more difficult to find in the powder or ground form.
Guajillo chiles look very similar to the harder to find Puya chiles. Puyas tend to be a bit smaller and pack more heat (5,000 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units) than the Guajillos. The Puyas are used by chefs of authentic Mexican cuisine who are looking for a little bit more unexpected kick.
Guajillo chiles are native to the central and northern Mexico states of Aguascalientes, Durango and San Luis Potosi. Guajillos are now also cultivated in China, Peru and the United States (in California and New Mexico). Are Guajillos are grown in Peru. Guajillos are most often used in authentic Mexican cuisine and in this country they’re popular in regional Southwestern cuisine throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
This chile measures 3 to 6 inches in length and is about 1 inch wide. It’s elongated shape tapers to a point and is sometimes slightly curved. The color is a deep burgundy with brick red to reddish-orange tones and a smooth, tough skin. Because of its thick skin the Guajillo chile requires a longer soaking time to rehydrate than most other dried chiles. Per ounce, Guajillos provide much less pulp than Anchos.
There are approximately 5 Guajillo Chiles per oz.
Guajillos are considered a mild heat chile and come in at 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
The flavor profile of Guajillos are slightly fruity with a sweet heat, are tannic with a hints of pine, tart berries and light smoky undertones.
Guajillo chilies may be used in butters, pastes or rubs to flavor all kinds of meats, especially chicken. In addition to Mexican moles use this chile in enchiladas, salsas, sauces, soups, stews and tamales. Guajillo chiles are also used to make Harissa, a hot chile paste mixture used in Tunisian cooking.
A puree of Guajillo chiles can be made by splitting and seeded the dried fruit, soaking the skins for about 15-20 minutes, smashing into a thin paste, then cooking with garlic, Mexican oregano, pepper, cumin, chicken stock and olive oil to produce a thick, red, flavorful sauce.
If you’re a fan of Mexican chiles or if you prefer your chiles to be a bit more on the milder side then you enjoy these – Ancho chile, California Chiles, Cascabel chiles, Mulato chiles, New Mexico chiles and Pasilla Negro chiles.
One of our favorite recipes using dried Guajillo chiles is Pozole Rojo.
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