One of the famous mole chillies from Mexico. Although all Chilaca are very long, there is obvious variation in shape between the strains grown in different areas of Mexico. They are also grown in Costa Rica. It is an important crop, and an estimated three thousand acres are devoted to its cultivation in Mexico.
Being fairly tall the plants benefit from some support. Plants grown in containers are easier to manage, but are less productive than those grown in the greenhouse border.
Chilacas are best known in the dried form, when it is known as a Pasilla; both the heat and the flavour of the chilaca are intensified by the drying process. Pasillas are typically ground to a powder and used in both sweet and savoury cooking. The pasilla powder is an essential ingredient of the classic Mexican mole negro sauce.
Even the fresh chillies have an extremely rich flavour, and chilacas can be used to advantage in stews or in dishes made from minced beef or lamb.
Pasilla powder can be used to add a piquant note to recipes containing chocolate.
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