Chile pequins are included in the lineup of the hottest chiles ever. This unique characteristic of theirs paved the way for their versatility in cooking – there are dozens of chile pequin recipes that you won’t be able to memorize all of them.
What Is Chile Pequin?
Chile pequin (or piquin) a hot chili cultivar commonly used in spices. Pequins usually grow to about four feet tall and two feet wide. It’s covered with small reddish chili berries all summer long.
Make no mistake with this spice because it’s 20 times hotter than your jalapeños! Some describe its flavor as citrusy, nutty, and smoky (if smoke-dried).
Typical uses of chile pequin include pickling, salsas and sauces, soups, and vinegar. In fact, the Cholula brand hot sauce lists pequin peppers and arbol peppers among its ingredients.
Chile pequins are prevalent in Mexican and Southeast Asian cooking. The green, unripe are pickled or added fresh to salsa, while the red ones are dried. Drying the peppers lengthens the shelf life and gives them a more focused flavor.
To keep the freshness of chiles, store them in an airtight plastic bag inside the refrigerator. This keeps the fruits fresh for a week while dried pequins will remain potent for at least a year if stored properly.
Growing Chile Pequins
If you’re thinking of making recipes out of chili pequin, you better plant one today because you’ll surely benefit from its endless uses.
This plant is very drought-tolerant, making it easy to cultivate and maintain. Interestingly, you’ll be saving lots of water with this fantastic chili cultivar as compared to other water-requiring chili plants.
However, when it gets too dry during summers, it welcomes supplemental water and an occasional dose of fertilizer as it grows.
If you have chile pequin plants growing in your backyard, make sure it’s growing in full sun, away from shaded areas so that it will produce lots of fruits.
Wait for a year or so before picking out the fruits of your labor. Then do all the recipes we had conjured up for you below. Indeed, chile pequins are one of the hottest chilis you’ll come across!
The Chile Pequin Homestyle Salsa Recipe
The first time we made this salsa was when we’re still living in South Texas where chile pequin bushes grow wild. We actually have half a dozen pequin bushes growing in our backyard without us noticing.
Being spicy lovers who love anything hot, we picked chilli pequins and made it into a delicious salsa. My mom makes it in a molcajete and serves it on the table fresh daily.
The chile pequin homestyle salsa can be served either smooth or textured. It’s best made with fully ripe tomatoes; but if they’re not available, canned tomatoes will work just fine.
What You’ll Need
- 7 ripe chili pequins
- 6 ripe tomatoes/2 cups canned tomatoes
- ½ tbsp. salt
- ½ tbsp. pepper
- 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 small onion
- A pinch of cumin
- A pinch of oregano
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- Serving size: 2 cups
Step 1. Mash pequin chiles in a molcajete or mortar and pestle.
Step 2. Chop tomatoes then boil them in a saucepan for about 5-7 minutes. Discard the tomato skin and water.
Step 3. Add onion, chiles, tomato sauce, garlic powder, sugar, salt, and pepper into the same saucepan as the mashed tomatoes. Simmer for a couple of minutes and mash as desired. If the salsa is too thick, thin with water or broth to desired consistency. Likewise, add more chiles up to desired hotness.
Step 4. Pour cooked salsa into a bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour for the flavors to blend well. If you prefer a smooth salsa without any tomato or chile chunks, put it into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, adding additional liquid is needed.
The Chipotle Chile Pequin Salsa Recipe
The chipotle chile pequin salsa is just one of the numerous variations of this hot sauce than we can name. It’s our favorite one too!
This recipe relies on chipotles for flavor and chile pequins for heat and for boosting the taste.
Chile pequins are typically paired with other chilis because their subtle, nutty flavor is lesser than the heat they impart.
Hence, in this recipe, chipotles will compensate for the nutty flavor that chile pequins lack whereas the latter will step-up the spiciness of the combo, giving you the best of both worlds.
The special part of this recipe is roasting both the tomatoes and chilis before blending them together which gives off a very distinct smoky taste you can only associate with this particular food.
However, you might not be familiar with an ingredient we’ll use in this recipe, the Chipotles in Adobo. You’ll find them in the Latin goods section of most supermarkets or any Hispanic market.
What You’ll Need
- ¼ oz. bag dried chile pequin (approx. 20-30 chiles)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb small, ripe tomatoes
- 1 7-oz can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- Serving size: 2 cups
Step 1. In a roasting pan, place the tomatoes and minced garlic. Roast the content of the pan for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes are soft enough. Turn tomatoes consistently to avoid burning.
Step 2. Add chiles to the roasting pan. Roast for 1-2 minutes only – exceeding beyond this time may burn the chiles, making them bitter-tasting.
Step 3. Transfer the roasted chiles and garlic into a blender or food processor. Blend until evenly pureed.
Step 4. Add chipotles, tomatoes, salt, pepper, vinegar, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to the puree and pulse the blender according to the texture you want to achieve – whether you want a chunky or a smooth salsa.
Step 5. Transfer into a bowl or container then store it in the fridge. Enjoy!
Both of our recipes, the homestyle chile pequin salsa and the chipotle chile pequin salsa, are best paired with Mexican dishes such as tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and much more.
You can even enjoy our chile pequin salsas with celery, chips, carrots, and pita bread – unconventional yes, but actually satisfying!
Truly, chile pequins are one of the hottest and most versatile chilis you’ll come across. There are many wonderful foods you can create out of this fruit; you just have to be creative.
Hey, amigo! What’s cooking? Do you think what you’re planning to cook right now pairs perfectly with chile pequin salsa? Give it a try!
And oh, do you know other chile pequin recipes? We’d love to hear your thoughts below! Don’t forget to share this post too. Cheers!