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Pequin Chiles, Dried
Looking like a hot volcanic puffed rice kernel, dried Pequin Chiles are roughly ½” long by ¼” wide and are reddish orange in color. Pequins are often associated with cuisine from the mountain ranges of northern Mexico. Pequin Chile translates to "tiny chile" and chile heads know that the smaller the chile is in size the larger it is in heat! Pequins are considered a hot chile and these come in at 100,000 to 140,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units).
The flavor profile of the Pequin chile is citrusy and nutty with a hint of smokiness. Also known as "bird pepper" this is a favorite of many bird species who enjoy the fruity flavor but unlike mammals are immune to the heat.
Native to Mexico there are several varieties of this chile some are conical and others round. These are also called Birds Eye, Bravo, Chilequin, Chiltipiquni, Grove Pepper, Mosquito, Pequeno and Turkey Pepper. Do not confuse Pequin Chiles with the similar looking African Bird’s Eye Chile (or African Devil Chile). These are not the same as the Pequin comes from the chile family C. annuum while the African Bird’s Eye from the family C. frutescens. Pequin Chiles are closely related to their wild cousins known as Tepin or Chiltepin.
Green chiles are often picked and pickled while the more mature turn red and are then dried. There are many chile heads who believe this is one of those chiles that’s more flavorful dried than fresh as the drying process tends to really bring out the flavor.
Toast and then rehydrate your Pequin Chiles and you can make a zesty puree with a delightful earthy flavor with hints of roasted peanuts.