Spice, Spice Baby!

Dried Chile de Árbol

De Árbol, or “tree,” chiles are named for the tree-like branching of their plants. Also known as “bird’s beak” or “rat’s tail” chiles, these bright red Mexican chile peppers may be small but they bring a mighty punch, weighing in at an average of 15,000-30,000 Scoville units!  De Árbol chiles can be tossed whole into soups, stews, or stir fries to add quick and easy heat.

high heat

Rinse chiles in plenty of cold water, draining well and letting them air dry. Wash hands thoroughly after handling and avoid eye contact!

Toast chiles–whole or in strips—in a medium skillet for 15-30 seconds on each side.  When you get a nice roasted pepper aroma and start to see some darkening, your chiles are toasted and ready to be ground!

Pour hot water over dried chiles and steep for up to half an hour or until soft and supple. Steeping times will vary by chile variety and size.  On average, one half ounce of dried chiles reconstitutes into two ounces of hydrated chiles.

To keep dried chiles fresh, store them in an airtight container in the pantry, or for longer lasting shelf-life, in the freezer.