Introduction: The Diversity of Mexican Chilies
Mexican cuisine is renowned for its bold and fiery flavors, which are largely attributed to the use of chilies. These small and colorful peppers come in a range of shapes, sizes, and heat levels, making them a versatile and essential ingredient in Mexican cooking. From the mild and fruity guajillo to the scorching hot habanero, Mexican chilies add depth, complexity, and a delightful kick to dishes. In this guide, we will explore the most popular Mexican chilies and how to use them in your cooking.
Understanding Scoville Heat Units (SHU)
Before we delve into the different types of Mexican chilies, it’s important to understand the concept of Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Developed by American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville in 1912, the SHU scale measures the spiciness or pungency of chili peppers. The scale ranges from 0 (no heat) to over 2 million (extremely hot). The heat level of a chili pepper is determined by the amount of capsaicin, a compound that produces a burning sensation in the mouth. When cooking with chilies, it’s important to choose the right heat level for your recipe and personal taste.