Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I made tamales about a month ago and I realized something was seriously awry in local grocery stores. It seems that the names Poblano, Ancho, and Pasilla are used interchangeably except they are all very different peppers and shouldn't be. I realize that if chilies were being mislabeled in Arizona then they most likely were being mislabeled in less Southwestern areas and perhaps I should write a blog about it.
Here are some easy ways to tell the peppers apart:
1. Poblano peppers are most frequently mislabeled as Pasilla. They will have a wide top and a narrow base; they will be about the size of a small female's hand. They are often dark green but can be lighter green. They are less spicy than a jalapeno and when you cut them will smell very similar to a green pepper. Even though they are low spice the seeds will still burn so wear gloves when you cut them!
2. Ancho peppers are just dried Poblano peppers. To add to the confusion they look nothing like Poblano peppers; when they are dried they are red and will need to be deseeded. The easiest way to deseed them is by taking a pair of kitchen shears and cutting off the top then removing the seeds.
3. Pasilla peppers are also dried but they are dried Chilaca chilies not Poblano; they will be a dark brown or a black and are spicy so you don't want to confuse Anchos and Pasillas!