October 31, 2009 2:59 PM
Pasilla Chile
POSTED IN: Chiles , Ingredients
TAGS: Black , Chilaca , Chile , Chilie , Negro , New Mexico , Pasilla
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The Pasilla Chile is the dried Chilaca Chile. It is also by far the most harvested and used chile in the state of Michoacan. In some towns you can see some patios covered with mats where hundreds and thousands of Chilacas are being dried in the sun to be turned into Pasillas. 

When it is fresh, it is long and shiny with a bright light green color. Once dried and with the name Pasilla, it is very long, slender, dark brown or black, with soft wrinkled skin. It has a rich, earthy and mildly spicy taste with a hint of sweetness. It is used for many things such as table sauces, soups, stews, rubs, marinades and moles (continue for more information and photos).  

It goes by different names, in some regions it is called Pasilla and in some Negro, or Black. Some call it Black Pasilla or Pasilla Negro. It can be substituted by the New Mexico dried Chile, thought it does have a different flavor. Not to confuse it with the Ancho Chile, which in some places in the US is called Pasilla as well. So it will be easy to recognize, here are a couple pictures. 

Pasilla Chile 1.jpg
But don't worry, once you cook with a specific kind of Chile you will not mistake it with any other! I am also adding a couple pictures of the Ancho Chile in its entry, so you can distinguish them as well.

Pasilla Chile 2.jpg

I bought some of these at the local H-Mart. The question is what should I do with them? I noticed that you mentioned that they are used in moles, but I couldn't find a mole recipe here. Excuse me if I didn't look hard enough, but are moles a traditionally Mexican food item? I know there are many types of moles, but I was curious how they are made and what each pairs with well. Any insight on where I can look?


Frank | March 24, 2010 3:35 PM

Hi Frank,
You can make so many things with them! You can start with this brisket I will be posting a mole recipe shortly to use them as well. And yes, moles are a traditional Mexican food... there are many kinds!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Frank | March 24, 2010 4:54 PM

Thank you for the ingredients list! I went to six, yes six supermarkets before finding bags of dried chiles-NSA SUPERMARKET in Brooklyn N.Y. No ANCHOs found so will use pasilla which looks exactly as described-soaking now will be used to make hamburgers today.

Linda | May 19, 2011 11:34 AM

Hi Pati,

I would like to know if the Pasilla Chile or any other dried chile sold in Mexican markets here is the US is of the same quality as the ones sold in mercados in Mexico. I live in Los Angeles and i'm talking about the bags of dried chiles that are packaged by a local spice company. Are these chiles grown and dried here or they imported?


Robert Olivers | August 17, 2011 9:02 PM