The Arbol chili pepper – chile de arból – is a long, thin red chili that is ubiquitous throughout Mexico. This dried chili pepper is spicy and can readily be found on most tabletops or taco stands in some form or another. Usually, blended into a delicious salsa, but sometimes just used crushed as a dry seasoning. A common ingredient in many Mexican recipes, this chili is used to add heat.
Chile de Arból – the Mexican Common Name
Chile de arból is the common name for this chili pepper in Mexico. That’s usually how you’ll find it labeled at the open-air markets, bagged in supermarkets, and listed in recipes.
The species is Capsicum annuum.
Also Know As:
- Bird’s Beak Chili
- Rat Tail Chili
Heat Level of Arbol Chili Peppers
This little chili packs a bit of heat. It rates 15,000 – 30,000 SHU on the Scoville scale for heat. It’s spicy heat creeps across the tongue and the mouth. Some people bead with sweat on their face and forehead when they eat this pepper.
Where to Find this Dried Chili Pepper
The Arbol chili pepper is very common and easy to find throughout Mexico and even in the United States. Traditional Mexican markets host heaps of dried chiles. Supermarkets in Mexico and the states will often have dried chilis in plastic bags hanging for sale.
How to Use, Choose, and Store
The Arbol chili is perfect to kick up the heat in any dish. They are commonly used in Mexico in many different ways. Some of the ways to use these peppers are:
- Blend to make salsa
- Crush to use as a dry seasoning or topping
- Ingredient to spice Mexican recipes
Though these are dehydrated, freshness is still important. When shopping for chilis search for whole peppers with stems intact. Check the color to see that they have a nice deep red hue and no signs of yellowing spots or holes. These holes are often from small bugs that eat through dried chilis stored improperly.