Chile Guajillo (Guajillo Chili) is the second most commonly used dried pepper in Mexican cuisine. This slightly fruity and smoky flavored chili is often sold dried and is frequently used to make sauces and marinades.
What Is Chile Guajillo
Chile Guajillo is a popular dried Mexican pepper used to make many classic sauces. Chile Guajillo is the Spanish word for “Guajillo Chili.” This chili is often sold as Dried Guajillo Chiles which are traditionally rehydrated with hot water and then blended up with other ingredients like garlic and onions.
Guajillo Chile is the dried version of the mirasol chili. When dried, these chilis take on a rich burnt-red color and have a smooth and shiny skin.
What Do Guajillo Chiles Taste Like?
Fruity, earthy, smoky, and somewhat bitter like a strong cup of green tea or high quality dark chocolate. When blended with tomatoes they create a sauce that is rich and warm.
My first experience using Guajillo Chiles was when I made Guajillo Sauce. Guajillo sauce is a rich, smoky, sauce made of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and Guajillo Chilis. It’s perfect for dipping chips. I fell in love with this sauce the first time I made it and literally emptied a bag of Homemade Tortilla Chips doings so.
Is Guajillo Chili Spicy?
Although the color of the skins of these peppers (a deep burnt-red) would indicate a wallop of heat, don’t be fooled because they’re actually pretty mild. The Scoville scale is a measurement system which assigns heat levels (heat units) to each chili pepper and is a type of rating scale. The Guajillo Chili is presented on this scale as having 2,500 heat units which is fairly mild when compared to the habanero chili with an impressive 350,000 heat units. In summation, you won’t get burned. If you can tolerate jalapeno peppers (8,000 heat units) then you’ll tolerate the Chile Guajillo just fine!
How To Use Dried Guajillo Chiles
Dried Guajillo Chiles are typically toasted, rehydrated, and then blended along with other ingredients to make a sauce like Guajillo Sauce. Here’s how to do it:
- Prepare chilis. Remove the stems from the chilis and then cut them or tear them open and shake out the seeds.
- Toast them. Place the chilis into a large skillet and heat it over medium heat. Roast them for roughly 1 minute on each side and then remove them from the skillet.
- Rehydrate. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil and then remove it from the heat. Place the chilis in the water and allow them to soak for about 10 minutes until they become soft.
You can then add these chilis to a blender along with other ingredients to make salsas and sauces.
Guajillo Chili Substitute
The two best substitutes for Chile Guajillo are the chile ancho or chile pasilla, both of which have a similar flavor profile and are mild.
Are Guajillo Chiles Healthy?
Yes, chili peppers in general contain a whole host of health benefits. Chili peppers are rich in vitamin C, B6, and potassium. They also contain a pigment called capsaicin which causes them to take on a wonderful red color. Capsaicin is believed to promote weight loss by curbing appetite. Some studies also suggest that chilis may be beneficial for lessening the symptoms of heart burn. (1)(2)
Where Can I Buy Chile Guajillo?
Guajillo Chiles are rather popular and can often be located at most grocery stores. They often come packaged in plastic bags and are hung on a rack along with chile de arbol and ancho chile. However, if you’re having a hard time finding them at your local grocery store, you may seek them out at any Mexican market where you’ll likely have better luck.
Why I Love Using Guajillo Chilis
Being vegan means learning about ingredients and finding ways to use them effectively to make dishes vibrant and enjoyable. While this should be the goal of any chef, it’s especially true of vegans. We don’t have the easy cheat of using cheese or meat so we have to be more creative which is a noble thing. That’s why I love using not only Chile Guajillo but all types of chilis. Chilis are used to make a variety of wonderful sauces and salsas which can turn the ordinary dish into something heavenly.
I encourage you to do the same as well. Learn about food, learn about ingredients, and experiment. Find some recipes that you love to make and add them to your play list. This is what makes being vegan an adventure, this is what makes being vegan enjoyable.