Chilli de arbol, or chile de árbol, is a fiery hot chilli, often used in Mexican soups and sauces. They are also known as rat's tail chile, bird's beak chile or simply tree chillis. In fact, 'arbol' is the Spanish word for 'tree', but the long, elegant chilli de arbol actually hang from the branches of a wiry shrub only a few feet off the ground. The arbol chillies turn a brilliant red colour when ripe, and are then sun-dried to intensify the spicy hot flavours.
Chilli de arbol is primarily used for its heat. While other milder Mexican chillies like ancho and mulato are known for their fruity-smoky flavours, arbols are best known for their fiery heat – most commonly used in soups, sauces and salsas, or for giving dishes an exciting kick. So don’t remove the seeds of chilli de arbol...but embrace the heat.
Dry-fry the on a skillet to release the flavours, before rehydrating in boiling water and blending into a sauce or a salsa.
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