Organic Pasilla Negro Chile Powder
Pasilla Chiles, Capsicum annuum, are indigenous to Central Mexico. Pronounced "pah-SEE-yah", this is a key chile in the famous "holy trinity" of Mexican chiles used in Mexican moles along with the ancho and the mulato chiles.
Like many chiles, these have one name when fresh and are called something else when in their dried state. The fresh version is known as Chilaca chiles (pronounced "chil-aca" and these dark green chiles have a similar heat profile to the more popular Poblano pepper (when dried known as ancho chile). The Chilaca chile is narrow and grows up to 10" long and usually has a twisted shape, which is not as pronounced when dried. In its fresh form it's also known as pasilla bajio, chile negro or "Mexican negro". Chilacas change from dark green to dark brown as they mature.
When a Chilaca is dried it becomes known as a pasilla chile, perhaps because its skin is so wrinkled that it resembles a grape or a prune. When dried, this chile is black in color and is called Pasilla Negro, chile negro, chile pasilla and chile pasilla de Mexico.
Depending on the time of year, our organic Pasilla Negro chiles are grown in either Mexico or the US.
The word Pasilla is derived from the Spanish word "Pasa" which translates to "little black raisin". The name Chilaca is derived from the Nahuatl (pronounced "na wak") language and translates to "gray hair" or "old," which describes its bent and wrinkled appearance. Nahuatl was spoken by the ancient Aztecs.
The Chilaca chile pepper is believed to have originated in the Puebla region of Mexico, just south of modern day Mexico City. Today, the Chilaca chile is cultivated primarily in the central and southwestern states of Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacan and Zacatecas.
The Chilaca plant typically reaches a height of 2-3', but some plants may get even taller, and each plant produces 20-30 fruits. The plant's fruit bearing stems begin higher up on the plant so that the long, maturing fruits on the lower branches do not touch the ground. Their flowers are usually white, sometimes greenish. The growing period is generally 90 to 100 days.
There's an "oldness" to the appearance of these chiles, they're more wrinkled than other Mexican grown chiles in the same heat range, and their long slim bodies (up to 5 to 10 inches) bend and twist like old tree branches. Their maturing cycle also doesn't have the same vibrancy as most of the other Mexican chilies, as Chilacas mature from a rich green to a dark greenish brown that borders on black (which becomes even more pronounced when dried), very different from the bright reds that most other Mexican chiles sport as they mature.
Some of the more popular varieties of Pasilla chiles grown in Mexico are Apaseo, Pabellon and Pátzcuaro (a dark variety grown in Michoacán).
In addition to Mexican moles, Pasilla Chiles are used in adobo sauces and salsas. In central Mexico, they're used as the signature flavor in tortilla soup. When used in soup it's more common to add crushed Pasilla Negro chiles on top of the soup than to have them added to the base during cooking, but you can certainly do both for more complex depths of flavor.
This chile is a flavorful ingredient when used in your favorite Mexican recipes such as tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas and tostados, but they also work well in cream sauces (especially for fish) and we also like to be a bit adventurous and use them in meat loaf, beef stew or corn chowder. We also like to use organic pasilla negro chile powder in spice blends.
Pasilla chiles are grown and used in Mexico's Central Highlands, especially as the base for regional marinades, moles, sauces, soups and stews.
Pasilla Negro chiles work well in combination with duck, fennel, fruits, garlic, honey, lamb, Mexican oregano, mushrooms and seafood.
A puree of soaked Pasilla Negro chiles will be brownish-black with reddish overtones. Pasillas yield a fair amount of pulp per ounce.
If you use a California based supplier for your organic Pasilla Negro chile powder, be aware that it may not actually be a Pasilla Negro Chile that you're getting. In California, the ancho chile is frequently called pasilla. In areas where the fusion of Cal-Mex cuisine is prevalent fresh poblano chiles are often referred to as pasilla. This confusion means that what you think you're getting when buying a ground Pasilla Negro chile may not be what you're actually getting.
This thin fleshed chile has one of the more sophisticated chile flavors and the taste is pungent and tangy with chocolate and raisin notes, a rich flavor and woodsy undertones.
Pasilla Negro chiles are considered a mild heat chile and come in at 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*