Chile Morita (or Chipotle Morita) are the dried and smoked version of jalapeno peppers. Used as an ingredient in traditional Mexican sauces, soups, and stews, they add a warm, smoky, and “authentic” flavor to a variety of recipes. You can find out everything you need to know about these chili peppers right here.
What Is Chile Morita?
Morita Chiles are a type of dried and smoked pepper which have the dark and “fruity” appearance of blackberries; this explains why they are called “Morita,” which means “little blackberry” in Spanish. Commonly produced in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, they are a little over an inch long and have a wonderful smoky aroma which comes billowing out once you remove them from their store-bought packaging. Some of the Morita Chiles have a tinge of burnt red coloring which runs through them; this is because Chile Morita are the dried version of red (ripe) jalapeno peppers.
The Morita Pepper is also considered a type of chipotle chili which simply means it’s a dried and smoked jalapeno pepper. There are two versions of the chipotle chili, the Chipotle Morita being one, and the other is called a Chipotle Meco. The difference between the two is one of appearance as well as flavor. The Meco is smoked for longer periods which makes their smoky flavor more pronounced whereas the Chile Morita is less smoky but spicier. Additionally, Chipotle Meco has the color and shriveled appearance of a used brown paper bag.
Now, let’s talk about heat!
How Spicy Are Morita Chiles?
They are considered to be a mild chili pepper. Because they are made from jalapeno peppers, they have a similar level of heat. According to the Scoville scale (a scale used to rate chili peppers based on their heat level) the Chile Morita has between 2,500 and 8,000 heat units. When compared to the habanero pepper (100,000 to 350,000 heat units), the Morita Chiles aren’t that spicy.
However, as I always say, proceed with caution. Add only a little at a time to your dishes. You can always add more later.
How To Cook Using Chile Morita
Chile Morita are typically toasted in a cast-iron skillet to enhance their flavor and then they’re placed in boiling hot water for about 20 minutes to rehydrate them. They then become soft and can be added to a blender with other ingredients. Additionally, they can be ground into a powder and then added to recipes as you would with any type of powdered seasoning. Recently I placed several in a coffee grinder and it worked wonderfully to make a fine powder. If you do choose to grind them up, make sure you remove the seeds first. Chile Morita is most commonly used in sauces like mole, or salsa recipes such as salsa de Morita. You can even use these chilis in soups like my Vegan Tortilla Soup to add a warm smoky flavor.
How To Rehydrate Dried Chilis
- Remove the seeds. Using either a knife or scissors, cut the stem off each chili and pour out the seeds. Some chilis may be very shriveled which will cause the seeds to get stuck. In this case, make an incision vertically along the length of the chili and scrape out the seeds.
- Toast the chilis. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and toast each chili for about a minute on each side.
- Rehydrate them. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Then remove it from the heat and place the chilis in the hot water and let them soak for about 20 minutes until they become soft.
Where Can I Buy Morita Chile?
I was able to purchase both the Chile Morita and Chile Meco at a local Mexican market. However, they may be more difficult to find at larger supermarkets. If you have any trouble locating them, I suggest you make your purchase online through Amazon. I’ve bought dried chilis made by both El Guapo and Tampico and have found them to be of good quality.