|Pronounced “suh rah noh” these workhorse chiles are a member of the species Capsicum annuum. Most of us are more familiar with this slender jalapeno looking chile in its fresh form where it is easily found in most local supermarkets. Well, this smoked chile is a bit different than those found in the product section at the local grocer..
The Serrano, when growing, is green and then ripens to deep scarlet red in color, but they can also occasionally mature to orange, yellow or brown in color. Our Serrano chiles remain on the vine until they mature to a scarlet red, when they then harvested and smoked. When green, the Serrano is sometimes referred to as chili verde and when dried it is also known as chile seco.
The Serrano is considered by chileheads to be one of the more flavorful hot peppers on the market which makes them quite popular.
History and Cultivation
The Serrano pepper has a long and dignified history in Mexican cooking. It is one of the most commonly found chilies in this region and because of its flavor is found in many of Mexico's most heralded dishes.
In Spanish the name Serrano translates to “from the mountains” and refers to the Sierra mountain region located in the Mexican states of Hidalgo and Puebla where this chile originated.
When and Where to Use
Serano chiles are most commonly used to make authentic Mexican spicy sauces. They also pair well with mango or pineapple for a sweet and spicy salsa and are an excellent chile to use in homemade pico de gallo. In this country, Serrano chile powder is sometimes used as a substitute for the more popular Chipotle Chile powder.
For an unexpected flavor twist and we like to use it in recipes that call for ground cayenne. I think that the cayenne is a good chile when you're only looking for a specific heat level but not in need of additional flavor. Our Smoked Ground Serrano is much more flavorful.
Serrano chiles are also popular in Thai dishes.
Flavor and Heat
This smoked chile pepper packs a bit of punch and is considered a medium hot chile coming in at 8,000 - 18,000 SHU.
Serrano chiles have a spicy crisp flavor with citrus undertones. These dried Serrano peppers have been smoked which provides additional nuanced layers of flavor.
If you have a recipe calling for Serrano and need a substitute you can use jalapeno or cayenne.
We also carry a full selection of dried chile powders with some of our favorites being such Ancho Powder, Chipotle "Morita" Powder, New Mexico Chili Powder and Pasilla Chili Powder as well as a growing selection if dried chiles.
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