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Learn more about morita chiles, the dried jalapeño pepper that adds a depth of flavor to countless meals throughout Mexican cuisine.

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What Are Morita Chiles?

Morita chiles are a type of chipotle pepper—a smoked, dried version of red jalapeño peppers. Morita chiles are similar to meco chiles (also known as brown chipotle or chipotle ahumado), another type of dried chipotle pepper. You can use these smoked chile peppers interchangeably, but moritas are spicier and have less of a smoky flavor than their counterpart. You can find moritas in grocery stores across the United States. The smokier chipotle mecos are rare in grocery stores outside of Mexico since most of the supply is consumed domestically.

What Do Morita Chiles Taste Like?

Morita chiles are mildly smoky, sweet, and fruity, with notes of blackberry (morita translates to "little mulberry" in Spanish). They range in heat from 5,000 to 10,000 Scoville Heat Units, making them much hotter than ancho chiles (1,000–1,500 SHU) and pasilla peppers (1,000–2,500 SHU, but much milder than chiles de árbol (30,000–50,000 SHU) and habanero peppers (100,000 to 350,000 SHU).

4 Ways to Use Morita Chiles in Your Cooking

Like most dried chile peppers, whole morita chiles benefit from toasting on a comal (or in a cast-iron skillet) before cooking, which brings out their smoky, fruity flavor. You can use both dried and canned moritas in a variety of Mexican and Southwestern recipes, including:

  1. Salsa de morita: Salsa de morita gets its red color and lightly smoky flavor from morita chiles, either canned or dried and rehydrated in hot water. Blended with tangy tomatillos and a couple of garlic cloves, they form a complex, not-too-spicy salsa.
  2. Tinga de pollo: Tinga de pollo is a chicken, tomato, and chipotle pepper stew that can be used as a taco or torta filling. Chipotle morita chiles give tinga de pollo its distinctive reddish hue.
  3. Camarones a la diabla: This dish, featuring shrimp in spicy sauce, gets both its heat and a pleasing smokiness from chipotle chiles. Use moritas for a milder level of smoke that won't overwhelm the delicate shrimp.
  4. Mole poblano: Mole is a deeply flavorful Mexican sauce that features a variety of dried peppers, such as poblanos, moritas, anchos, pasillas, and guajillos.
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