Chilli de arbol is a fiery hot chilli, often used in Mexican soups and sauces. '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 hotness. 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 a condiment, or for giving dishes an exciting kick. So don’t remove the seeds of chilli de arbol...but embrace the hotness. Fry the chilli a little oil, or dry-fry on a skillet to release the flavours, before blending into a sauce, or chopping finely into a salsa.
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