Learn About Serrano Chiles

Author: Chef Toby

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What is a Serrano chile?

A Serrano chile is popular Mexican chili pepper. Its appearance is similar to that of a jalapeno, except it is thinner and shorter with a slight curve. In Spanish, the word “Serrano” means “of the mountains”, where this pepper originated. Aside from being very popular in Mexico, it is also used in Asian cuisines.

What do Serrano chiles taste like?

Similar to a Jalapeno pepper, Serannos have a vegetal, grassy flavor with a high amount of heat. The smaller the pepper is, the hotter it tends to be. Serranos rank at ten to twenty-five thousand Scoville units, making it up to 5 times as hot as a jalapeno. Serranos have a delayed heat, which means that the spice is not felt upon initially eating it, but a few moments afterward. 

How can you eat Serrano chiles?

You can eat serrano chiles raw, pickled, or cooked, depending on the dish. Pickled chiles are popular in both Mexican and Vietnamese cuisine. Serranos can be added to soups and stews during the cooking process for an added kick that is not as spicy as eating it raw. 

Learn About Serrano Chiles
Raw Green Organic Serrano Peppers in a Bowl

Where can you buy Serrano chiles?

Serrano chiles can be found at most grocery stores in the produce section where most other peppers are found. These peppers are available year-round but are best in the summertime. 

How do you store Serrano chiles?

Store fresh serrano chiles in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, in either a plastic bag or a paper bag. They can be kept in the fridge for about a week after purchase or until they become soft or start to wrinkle. Pickled peppers can last up to three weeks in the refrigerator or months in the pantry if canned correctly. 

Fun Fact About Serrano Chiles:

The Serrano pepper plant and grow to be up to 5 feet tall and can hold up to 50 chili pods at one time! 

Did you know?

Serrano peppers, along with all other peppers, contain capsaicin, which is the component in peppers that make them spicy. It’s considered to be a healthy compound that is good for heart health.

Recipes Using Serrano Chiles:

Fresh Mango and Serrano Salsa

Balance heat with sweet with this mango salsa. Finely dice mango, serrano chiles, red onion, tomato, and red bell pepper. Toss the vegetables in a bowl and season with salt, pepper, cilantro, and lime juice, to taste. This salsa pairs well with chicken, fish, or can be eaten on its own with chips!

Cilantro and Serrano Rice

In a saucepan, sauté onion, garlic, and serrano chiles with olive oil until they are tender. Stir in white or brown rice and toast the rice until it becomes opaque and begins to brown. Add in chopped cilantro, and chicken stock. Boil the rice on low heat until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. If you don’t have chicken stock, use chicken bullion to make a substitute!

Chunky Guacamole with Serranos

This spicy guacamole is perfect for scooping with chips or on top of nachos. Dice a pitted avocado, onion, garlic, serrano chiles, and cilantro, making sure that the avocado dices are not too fine. Combine the ingredients in a bowl and season with lime juice, salt, and pepper. Slightly mash with the back of a fork until your desired texture has been reached.

Peach and Serrano Chicken Wings

These wings are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy, and perfect for making ahead of time. In a large slow cooker, add chicken wings and drums that have been coated in flour. In a mixing bowl, combine peach preserves, white vinegar, soy sauce, chicken broth, chopped serrano peppers, shallots, and garlic. Pour the mixture over the chicken and cook on low for four to five hours.

Serrano and Tomato Salsa

This fresh salsa is great for dipping tortilla chips and spooning onto nachos and tacos. In a cast-iron skillet, roast some tomatoes and serrano peppers until the skin blisters and turns black. In a blender, add the roasted pepper, garlic, and salt. Blend to make a paste, and then add the roasted tomatoes, cilantro, and pulse until smooth.

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