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A Guide to Dried Chiles: 5 Essentials for Mexican Cooking

Ancho Chile

Barely sweet, anchos are the perfect gateway chile. These dried, ripe poblanos are mild but the seeds and veins should be removed before using so they do not overwhelm other flavors. Perfect for chiles rellenos, adobos, and moles, they can also be ground into a powder that pairs well with chocolate in baked goods. Anchos are often confused with, and can be substituted for, the darker and even sweeter mulato chile that comes from the purple poblano.

Chile de Árbol

Retaining their deep red color even after drying, smooth and slender árbol chiles may be decorative but they still manage to bring the heat. Bright and acidic, they are typically used whole and added to cooked sauces, soups, and stews. A close relative of cayenne peppers, they’re often stemmed, seeded, toasted, and ground into a fiercely hot chili powder.

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