What are Mulato Peppers
Mulato Pepper (pronounced “mu-la-to”), Capsicum annuum, is also called Chile mulato, mulato chile, or mulato chili.
There are approximately 3 chiles per ounce.
The Mulato Chile Pepper is a mild to medium dried variety of poblano pepper that is a deep reddish brown, almost black in color when they are harvested and dried. Mulato chiles have a slightly sweet, chocolatey flavor.
What are Poblano Chiles
The poblano is known as chile poblano in Mexico. It is indigenous to the area around Pueblo, Mexico and poblano means pepper from Pueblo. There are several cultivars that are known as poblanos when in the dark green immature stage. Some of these are only used in their green form, while others are allowed to more fully mature, before being harvested and then dried. Like other Mexican chiles these are known by other names when dried – Ancho, and Mulato1. The Ancho chile is a poblano that ripens to a deep red, before it is harvested and dried. Mulato chiles are allowed to ripen to an even darker color than Ancho chiles before harvesting and drying.
De Chorro chile is a poblano cultivar that is also called "irrigated chile" because each plant is typically irrigated individually. They are only grown in Durango and Guanajuato Mexico. Miahuateco chile is a large poblano cultivar that is only grown in the states of Puebla and Oaxaca. Both these poblano cultivars are only used in their green forms and are rarely found outside of Mexico.
What do Mulato Peppers Taste Like
A bit sweet with hints of smoky chocolate, licorice, cherries and coffee.
Are Mulato Chiles Hot
These chiles are considered a mild heat chile and come it at 1,000 to 2,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units).
Is Mulato Chile the Same as Ancho Chile
Mulato Chiles are often called the "cousin" to the Ancho Chile but in reality, they are nearly the same pepper. Both chiles begin their green, immature stage as the poblano, the grassy green chile that translates as "villager" or "peasant", because it is found nearly everywhere. During maturation, the poblano peppers earmarked to become Anchos are left on the vine to mature to a deep red before being harvested and dried. The poblanos selected to become Mulatos stay on the vine even longer, until they develop a deep mahogany color. Once they are as ripe as they can be, they are harvested and dried. Mulato chiles have a chocolatey flavor that is richer, sweeter and a bit more pungent than ancho chiles10.
What are Mulato Peppers Used For
Along with the other two members of the "holy trinity of mole sauces", Ancho and Pasilla Chiles, the Mulato peppers are a key ingredient in mole poblano, which is also known as Mexican mole, a dark brown chocolaty and spicy sauce that is usually served over chicken or meat. Mulato Peppers are ideal for mole recipes due to their dark brown color after soaking.
You will also find Mulato Peppers used in other Mexican sauces and stews, including chicken with rice. Cooks in Mexico make stuffed Mulato peppers (like stuffed Poblanos) by rehydrating the chile pods, removing the seeds and then stuffing the pods with breadcrumbs, cheese and shrimp. These are then pan fried in oil.
To rehydrate your Mulato Peppers , rinse them off with warm water and then soak in hot water for 10-20 minutes. Once rehydrated, dice or puree and add to a recipe.
Mulato chile peppers pair well with Mexican cheeses such as queso fresco, cotija, queso de Oaxaca, cuajada, Chihuahua cheese, and with meats such as beef, chicken, and pork, cinnamon, garlic, legumes, onions, potatoes, pumpkin seeds, and herbs, especially cilantro and Mexican oregano.
Mulato Pepper Substitution
A good substitute for the Mulato Chiles (1,000 – 2,000 SHU) is its close cousin Ancho Chiles (4,000 to 9,000 SHU), if you are looking for something with a similar flavor profile, albeit a slightly higher heat level.
History of Mulato Peppers
The earliest poblano chiles were likely cultivated in pre-Columbian times (which began with the original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic period through to European colonization) with modern day varieties being at least 1,000 years old given their rich history in Mexican cooking2.
Bernardino de Sahagun, a Franciscan friar, missionary priest, and pioneering ethnographer arrived in Nueva España (modern day Mexico) in 1529. He quickly learned the Nahuatl language and spent the next 50 years studying the Aztecs and their culture. He wrote of the typical Aztec market as having as many as twenty varieties of chiles - "hot green chiles, smoked chiles, water chiles, tree chiles, flea chiles and sharp-pointed red chiles”. To further illustrate the importance that the Aztecs placed on chiles they classified them into six categories based not only on level of pungency (low to high) but also on type of pungency (broad to sharp). He also wrote about mollis being used in a number of indigenous dishes3.
Mulato chiles make up the "holy trinity of a mole sauce" along with Ancho and Pasilla Chiles. These three pod types were developed in pre-Columbian times (1800 - 300 BC) and in the Aztec period (1300 to 1521 AD) moles were called mulli or mollis, from the Nahuatl language meaning sauce, and were often made with turkey and served during Aztec festive occasions and rituals4.
Mulato Chile Pepper Cultivation
Mulato peppers are from one of several cultivars of poblano chile, either Mulato V-2 or Roque5. Depending on the cultivar the plant typically reaches a height of 24-30 inches. The plants may vary from multi-stemmed and compact to semi-erect and semi-woody. The leaves are dark green and shiny, approximately four inches long and two and a half inches wide. Flowering begins 50 days after sowing and continues to the first frost. The corollas are off-white and appear at every node6. The ideal growing conditions for poblano chiles are when day time temperatures are 64-80°F and night time temperatures are not less than 59°F. Annual rainfall needs to be between 24-50 inches (less than that and additional irrigation is needed), and light, humus-rich soil. On commercial chile farms, seeds are typically sowed in enclosed heated nursery beds. Seedlings are transplanted after 25-35 days and have reached a height of 4-8 inches. When the plant reaches a height of 11-15 inches the first flowers begin to bloom and about one month later the first immature green chile pods appear7. The pods mature to a purplish green and eventually a dark reddish-brown before they are harvested and dried. This variety of poblano takes up to 100-120 days from seed to harvest, the yield is about fifteen pods per plant, but up to thirty pods is not uncommon8.
Mulato chiles are primarily grown in Guanajuato, Jalisco, and Puebla9.
Where are Our Mulato Peppers From
|Also Called||Chile mulato, mulato chile, or mulato chili|
|Recommended Uses||Moles, sauces, or stews|
|Flavor Profile||A bit sweet with hints of smoky chocolate, licorice, cherries, and coffee|
|Scoville Heat Units||1,000 - 2,000 SHU|
|Botanical Name||Capsicum annuum|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||1-2 Years|
|Country of Origin||Mexico|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Kosher, Non-GMO|
Hungry for More Information
1, 10 Andrews, J. (1999). The Pepper Trail: History and Recipes from Around the World (Revised, Subsequent ed.). University of North Texas Press.
2, 5 DeWitt, D. (2017). Ancho and Poblano Chiles (The Pepper Pantry) (2nd ed.). Terra Nova Books.
3 Sahagún, B. D. (2021). Historia general de las cosas de la Nueva España I (Spanish Edition). Linkgua Ediciones.
4 Bosland, P. (2000). The Chiles of Mole. The Chile Pepper Institute Newsletter, XI(2), 1–4.
6, 9 Dewitt, D. (1999). The Chile Pepper Encyclopedia: Everything You’ll Ever Need To Know About Hot Peppers, With More Than 100 Recipes (1st ed.). William Morrow Cookbooks.
7 Burton, T. (2014, January 7). Chiles, one of Mexico’s heritage crops | Geo-Mexico, the geography of Mexico. Geo-Mexico, the Geography of Mexico | the Geography and Dynamics of Modern Mexico. Retrieved March 19, 2022.
8 DeWitt, D., & Bosland, P. W. (2014). The Complete Chile Pepper Book: A Gardener’s Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking (New ed.). Timber Press.
Serving Size1 chile, 10g
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*