A guajillo chilli is a variety of chilli pepper of the species Capsicum annuum, which is widely used in the cuisine of Mexico. It is the most popular dried chilli in Mexico after poblanos (ancho).
The guajillo chilli’s thin, deep-red flesh has a green tea flavour with berry overtones. Its fruits are large and mild in flavour, with only a small amount of heat. They are used to make the salsa for tamales; the dried fruits are seeded, soaked, pulverized to a thin paste, then cooked with salt and several other ingredients to produce a thick, red, flavourful sauce.
Guajillo chillies are great in pastes, butters or rubs to flavour all kinds of meats – especially chicken. Alternatively, they can be added to salsas to create a sweet side dish with a surprisingly hot finish.
A typical Guajillo chilli has an elongated shape, often with a slight curve, and comes to a point. Individual peppers are usually between 10 to 15 cm with a reddish or brownish colour when fully ripened. Green, immatured Guajillos may also be harvested and used in cooking. When cooked, the matured peppers tend to give foods a yellowish colour. Those who cook with Guajillo chillli enjoy the slightly fruity, berrylike sweetness and medium spice of the peppers, along with tannic and pine hints. Because of this pepper’s sweetness to spice ratio, Guajillo chillies are often used in the Mexican sauce known as molé. This type of sauce often contains bitter chocolate, raisins, and several other ingredients. Ancho, Pasilla and Guajillo chillies are popularly categorized as the “holy trinity peppers,” and are considered among the best for making authentic Mexican molé sauce. Excellent for marinades, burritos, tacos, sauces and bean dishes, in enchiladas and salsas.