Serrano Chillies

From the mountains

Serrano Chillies and its cousin, the Hidalgo, get their names from mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo.  Hidalgos get their name from the state, whereas   Serrano refers to the mountains of this region.  Serrano means mountain dweller in Spanish

The Serrano is second only to Jalapenos  when it comes to popularity in Mexico. It looks similar, but is hotter than the Jalapeno. The Scoville heat rating for a Serrano is the 10000 to 30000 range, whereas as a Jalapeno is usually below 8000 SHU

Serrano Chillies grow to between one and two inches in length and about ½  to an inch wide.  Some larger varieties may grow to 3 inches in length. They start off green, but may change colour to yellow, orange, red, and even brown.  Their plant grows to about three feet tall and is about the same in width. They are prolific producers, growing particularly well in regions with mild winters and hot summers. Serrano Chillies  share the same species as Jalapenos – Capsicum annuum

Serranos are prized in Mexico and other parts of the world for their fantastic use in cooking. Their taste is described as sharp, crisp and similar to Jalapeno  (with more of a bite, though).  Green Chillies tend to have a milder taste than ripened chillies. The size of the Chillies also determines heat. Smaller Chillies tend to be hotter

Avocado with tomatoes, onions and chillies

Typical uses for Serranos when they are still green include pickling, mixing into salsas like Molcajete Salsa and  Tomatillo Salsa. They are also  added to Guacamole, Ceviche ( Sierra Ceviche), Aguachiles (prawns with avocados with lime and Chillies )  roasted and also used in Pico de Gallo

When ripe,  they are more likely to be used in cooked dishes like  Huevos Rancheros with Tomatillo Sauce (Farmer’s breakfast in Tamatillos sauce ),  Carne En Su Jugo ( meat cooked in its own juices), Almejas a la Mexicana ( Mexican style clams ),  chayotes a la Mexican ( Mexican pear squash)  and Tamales de Queso con Rajas de Chile Serrano ( spicy  Tamales with cheese).  Serranos are also used to make hot sauces

Serrano Chilies can be substituted by Hidalgos, Jalapenos or Poblanos

Image credit :

Maja Dumat /CC BY 2.0 / via Flikr