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The Pasilla Oaxaca Chilli: Smoke Without Fire

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Pasilla Oaxaca chillies, Mexico, Gran Luchito

The Pasilla Oaxaca chilli drying in the sun before smoking

If you have tried the Gran Luchito range, you’ll know that we’re not in the business of trying to blow your head off with spice. No. Far from being just another hot sauce, here at Gran Luchito we strive to bring a sophisticated breath of fresh, smoky, authentic Oaxacan air to your kitchen creations. Gran Luchito is about depth of flavour, and it’s thanks to one key ingredient that our products provide it in abundance. The mighty Pasilla Oaxaca chilli is what we’re all about.

We make no secret of the fact that it is this beautiful product that provides the very backbone of the Gran Luchito range. In fact, we want everyone to know about it. The Pasilla Oaxaca epitomises the wonderful way in which top quality natural products can be maximised through the ingenuity of traditional human knowledge.

Pasilla Oaxaca chillie farmer, Mexico

A local farmer picking ripe chillies

Pasilla Oaxaca chillies are grown only in Mexico’s southern Oaxaca region. This mild, naturally smoky chilli has been cultivated and preserved by farmers in the same way for hundreds of years. Carefully grown with absolutely no fertiliser or pesticides, the chillies are nurtured using traditional techniques, fruiting only once per year. It is after the hardy chillies themselves that the name Gran Luchito comes, meaning Great Little Fighter.

Beginning life completely black, the Pasilla Oaxaca next turns green, then orange and finally ripens to a beautiful red. It is at this stage, in June, that the fruits are picked by hand and taken to the next stage in their journey towards our little jars. Some of the chillies are actually used or sold in their fresh form. However, the majority are saved and preserved. After drying in the sun, and removing some seeds for next year’s crop, the chillies are then smoked using traditional oak-wood fires (often along with coffee).

Smoking Pasilla Oaxaca chillies

The chillies are smoked over a traditional oak-wood fire to give its trademark flavour

Interestingly, Pasilla Oaxaca chillies are grown mainly for consumption by the farmers themselves, with their main income made from other crops such as corn, coffee and beans, some of which are grown in the very same fields at the very same time as the chillies to maximise the land. The chilli is also the principle ingredient for Chintextle – a smoked chilli paste that inspired the Gran Luchito Smoked Chilli Paste.

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