25 Jul2013


I was at S&R Taguig an hour or so ago, and came across these unusual (for these parts) and ginormous chiles. They were labelled “Pasilla Chili” and cost a whopping PHP689.95 a kilo, or PHP124 for these two specimens. Spending $17 a kilo for chiles/chilis (always get confused how to preoperly spell this word) seems outrageous, but I was curious, and thought maybe some of you would be to. I am a sucker for the unusual produce, so it comes out of my mythically large “research budget”… At any rate, a quick google immediately points out a likely error. Pasilla chile refers to a dried chile, which when fresh, is called a chilaca chile, see photos here and more reference information here. Chilaca’s tend to turn dark brown upon ripening, so these bright red specimens in the photo above don’t seem to point to chilacas… But wait, it seems there ARE OTHER chiles from Northern Mexico referred to as pasillas, in their fresh state, so I more confused now than when I bought the darned things…


So what is it? I thought they could be anaheim peppers, here, but it could also very likely be a poblano, which when dried, becomes an ancho. Still with me? And poblanos turn a nice bright red like these ones, but look far more squat and not elongated like the ones in the photo up top. I thought I would dry one of the chiles on our hot tin roof, but after reading that it might take up to two weeks of hot searing sun, I axed that idea and they are now sitting on our kitchen counter, wondering their fate…


Whatever they are (probably not a pasilla), I am hoping they are somewhat mildish, say (3/10) on the spiciness scale, somewhat fruity and flavorful. I plan to either use them in a sort of chile relleno recipe as as a garnish to a seafood or other salad. If you have any brilliant ideas, please let me know… Thanks!



  1. Cai says:

    How about a sosy Bicol Express? :)

    Jul 25, 2013 | 3:05 pm


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  3. Khew says:

    I spell it “chilli” the British way. Americans do “chili”, while the for the Spaniards, it’s “chile”.

    May I suggest simply chopping them up and gently frying them in peanut or palm oil till they darken/dry. Bottle along with the oil and use:

    – together with crispy lard, garlic, fish sauce, dark soy & calamansi in noodles or steaming hot rice.
    – in spaghetti bolognese or pasta aglio-olio
    – along with shallots & calamansi for sardines or tuna.
    – with bits of sauteed dried fish & garlic in a kangkong or spinach saute.

    Jul 25, 2013 | 3:39 pm

  4. Marketman says:

    Khew, wow! thanks for that list… I hadn’t thought that far… but that sounds terrific! As for chili with or without beans, how do I spell that? :)

    Jul 25, 2013 | 3:45 pm

  5. Clarissa says:

    What are the yellow ones? :)

    South Supermarket in Alabang used to have TONS of red peppers/chilis available ranging from labuyo, red ones the size of the siling sigang, and big ones like yours. I wanted to make my own sriracha (after you made yours) and decided to just buy a bottle of sriracha instead :P

    I would think these are sweet spicy peppers/chilis. I tried a dipping sauce in Bali when we had a cooking class there. They still called it sambal (though upon research it’s a very collective term). Fry some chilis, shallots and garlic, all thinly sliced, until golden in some coconut oil – their coconut oil smelled like gata, then remove from heat. Top it on your rice, or as a dipping sauce. Deadly hot, but yummy. :)

    Am I wrong to call them pepper anyway?

    Jul 25, 2013 | 6:03 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    Clarissa, the yellow ones are tiny (runt) yellow peppers or capsicums.

    Jul 25, 2013 | 6:07 pm

  7. Monique says:

    Make a batch of sambal! I am a sucker for chillies. I use the habaneros in S & R to make sambal and they are quite nice if you add some siling labuyo for more kick. I always keep some seeds and plant them and so far i have been able to grow them well.

    Jul 25, 2013 | 7:08 pm

  8. Gej says:

    Habaneros in sambal! That’s beyond Bicolano! I remember how habaneros have a deceptively vanilla-ish flavor at the start … before your mouth explodes.

    Jul 25, 2013 | 9:36 pm

  9. Marketman says:

    Gej, check out this old post on habaneros… :)

    Jul 25, 2013 | 9:56 pm

  10. j says:

    Are they thin-skinned? It looks like the Italian friggitello, only those are green and on the sweeter side. I used to be a cook in Florence and what I do is I take out the seeds, half crosswise, fry in lots of olive oil until soft, set aside, remove half of the oil, add some cloves of garlic, add cherry tomatoes sliced in half, cook a bit, add the friggetelli, season with salt. serve with crostini. Man, I miss Italy!

    Jul 25, 2013 | 10:21 pm

  11. Gej says:

    MM, Ha ha ha! Ouch! Chief of Stuff certainly passed the loyalty test! The spiciness of Habanero (at least the ones I got to try) lasts for about 20 minutes then, as if miraculously, disappears. Those 20 minutes must have felt like eternity for COS!

    I remember learning this lesson (not touching sensitive parts of the body after holding sili, or even just sili leaves) when I was around 4 or 5 years old. I was playing around with plants, touching and picking leaves, etc in the compound where we used to live. Among the plants were some native sili plants. I just picked and rubbed some leaves, not even the fruit. Moments after , I rubbed my eyes. That wasn’t a place where “the sun doesn’t shine”, but to this day I still remember how painful it was.

    That’s how I learned how important it was to identify plants well.

    Jul 25, 2013 | 10:32 pm

  12. Faithful reader says:

    Roasting peppers and adding to tomatoes makes a tasty salsa.

    Jul 26, 2013 | 1:05 am

  13. Voltaire Gungab says:

    Hi MM: Here’s more on the spelling conundrum. I hope this is useful information.

    “Chilli” is indeed the British way of spelling it, and is used in the UK and its former colonies. Here in the U.S., “chili” and “chile” are both used, although periodicals nowadays use “chile” as the preferred spelling to refer to the pepper, and to distinguish it from “Chili,” the dish with ground meat and beans.

    For etymology buffs, “chile” is not from Spanish spoken in Spain. The word is derived from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. Dialects of Nahuatl are still spoken in parts of central Mexico, and a lot of words in Mexican Spanish are “hispanized” versions of Nahuatl words, like “papalote” (kite), “guajolote” (turkey–“pavo” in other countries), “tlapalería” (hardware store). “Chile” is used more in Mexico & Central America, and the plant is, indeed, native to the Americas. In South America, hot peppers are called “ají,” as in “ají amarillo” used by Peruvians. And the Filipino word “sili,” as we know, comes from “chile,” and was most likely introduced by soldiers brought over by Spain from Mexico.

    Jul 26, 2013 | 1:37 am

  14. Lysa says:

    Are they mild? Maybe they’re red banana peppers?

    Jul 26, 2013 | 1:47 am

  15. Marketman says:

    Voltaire, that’s fascinating… thanks for that. I think from now on i will refer to them as chiles. And oddly, I never wondered why ours are called sili, so now I know…

    Jul 26, 2013 | 7:00 am

  16. Sam says:

    MM: I am not very sure, but they look like hybrid sweet peppers, and I’ve tried the red and orange varieties. They’re great chopped up for garden salads and relishes. Slightly tart, mostly sweet, with a good crunch and a nice sweet pepper scent. Snip a bit from the tip and try it.

    Jul 26, 2013 | 5:07 pm

  17. Jean Coene says:

    They do look like the hot or mild banana peppers I grow, after they’ve ripened.

    Jul 26, 2013 | 10:43 pm

  18. Footloose says:

    So many nahuátl words came across the Pacific to us not only through soldiers but through its many civil agents, friars, missionaries and colonial administrators. Quite par for the course since this outpost of the empire was ruled for close to four centuries through the viceroy of Mexico. Anyway, one of this curious words is their term for peanut, cacahuatl which is almost identical to their word for cacao. Curious because like their term for kite and turkey, it hardly if ever found usage in the Philippines where in the majority of Filipino languages it is known as maní, its Taino and probably Guaraní derivation. For a cultural vestige of that empire, here is a perky mambo celebrating the peanut vendor, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp6khgW2tn8

    Jul 27, 2013 | 6:16 pm

  19. EbbaBlue says:

    It looks like about 6 inches long? I will go to a Mexican market tomorrow and try to find out possible name for this pepper. Wish me luck.

    Jul 29, 2013 | 12:25 pm

  20. Walter Robles says:

    These are the chilies I use for sinigang here in Melbourne. They’re widely available in supermarkets and are quite expensive!


    Jul 30, 2013 | 10:03 am

  21. cj says:

    hi… i hope somebody can help me :) where can i buy anaheim pepper, habaneros and other different kind of peppers. not sili labuyo, or sigang. thank u so much

    Jan 7, 2014 | 11:29 pm


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