After my recent post on chile-laced tamarind ice cream, a friend sent me a recipe for cooked apples with ancho chile.
I wasn’t paying attention at the supermarket, and found myself with all the necessary ingredients except ancho chile. I’m a resourceful guy, so I thought “what the heck” and substituted chipotle… with disappointing results. I ended up with an oddly smoky, brown-sugary mess that just didn’t work with the sour granny smith apples.
That’s when I was reminded that it’s high time I learned the difference between the many different chiles.
Here’s a great starting point. A summary that features 12 commonly available chiles, with a quick description of each, and an indication of their heat level.
I wasn’t surprised to see how hot the habaneros can be. I have a vivid memory of tasting a tiny dollop of habanero salsa one evening in Mérida, and pretty much ruining my dinner with the pain.