looking to inject some Mexican fire into your life? then the Morita chili pepper is just the thing that you’ve been looking for. Morita’s are one of two dried and smoked jalapeno varieties that are designed to give a sweet and smoky flavor to many Mexican-inspired meals.
The other more well-known red-riped dried jalapeno variety is the chipotle pepper, which is rather famous for making chipotle sauce.
The difference between the two is that the Morita is smoked for less time, which gives it a softer texture that’s able to hold onto a more fruity flavor.
In this article we will showcase the marvelous Morita in all its smoky, dry-spiced glory, subsequently making any avid cook realize that they need some Morita’s to spice up their food and life.
Scoville Heat Units Of Morita
Invented in 1912 by American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville, the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale is the most widely used and accepted means of measuring the heat of the chili pepper.
By calculating the capsaicinoids in each of the world’s pepper, the Scoville scale can determine their pungency in a very accurate way.
This accuracy is super useful for growers, purveyors, and eaters of peppers, as it helps them to know exactly how potent each pepper is (no guesswork here). The scale runs from the very innocent gypsy pepper at 0 all the way up to the eye-watering and gut-wrenching Pepper X at 3,180,000.
Thankfully, the heat of the Morita doesn’t come in anywhere near to the Pepper X, typically being a nice and considered 5,000 – 10,000 SHU.
At this level, and just like jalapenos, Morita’s are considered rather mild but with enough of a punch to leave your mouth feeling energized and you desiring more.
What Does A Morita Pepper Taste Like?
Although Morita chilies aren’t super high on the SHU scale, it is their flavor profile that chili lovers seek them out for.
Because of their reduced smoking time, Morita’s are known to hold onto a more fruity flavor with a little side note of acidity. Their fruity sweetness is what sets them apart from the chipotle chili, and makes them such a sort-after dried chili in Mexico and beyond.
With hints of blackberry, this smoky chili sits at the perfect balance between intensity and mildness and, therefore, suits a whole array of hearty, people-pleasing meals.
Morita Chili Peppers In Cooking
To really enhance and bring out the smoky, fruity flavors of the Morita, it is recommended to lightly toast them first.
Preferably you want to toast your Morita’s on a comal or a cast-iron skillet, but if need be, a regular frying pan will most certainly do the trick.
Whether you’re using dried or canned Morita’s, this gentle toasting prior to use will go a long way in bringing out the best of your dish.
Turning dried Morita chili peppers into a homemade chili powder is another popular way of using them in cooking.
Simply remove the seeds and stems of each dried chili delight and then grind, or blend the chilies into a powder – perfect for adding to a dish when there’s little time to spare.
There is also the option of rehydrating them to make a sweet and spicy sauce that’s similar to a chipotle, or for flavoring soups and stews.
Both meat and bean chillis benefit greatly from a few rehydrated Morita’s blended and mixed through them.
One Mexican recipe that goes particularly well with Morita chilis is “Tinga de Pollo”, which is a classic taco filling down in Mexico.
Get creative with Morita’s by adding them to many salsas and sauces that are destined for seafood, chicken, steak, and vegetables – the sky really is the limit for the Morita.
History Of The Morita Chili Pepper
Morita chili peppers, unsurprisingly, have a rich and delicious history that dates all the way back to Aztec times.
Native to northern Mexico, the idea of smoke-drying jalapeno peppers quickly caught on soon became a kitchen staple amongst the towns and villages of the area.
This method meant that people could preserve their peppers, which helped them to survive drought-stricken times when crops would struggle to grow.
Still to this day, the majority of Morita peppers are still grown and dried around the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. They are widely used for cooking in all regions of Mexico, however, they are particularly popular in the food-centric city of Mexico City.
As far as its name is concerned, “Morita” means small mulberry in Spanish. And after taking one look at these small and dark-colored dried beauties, you’ll see the resemblance to the mulberry and understand why they’ve been named accordingly.
Buying Morita Chilli Peppers
In America, It use to be that you could only buy Morita’s in specialist Latin markets and stores, but with our taste for heat growing by the year, so too is the chili industry.
These days, you can find some really fine Morita’s stocked in supermarkets across the country.
If your local supermarket doesn’t stock them and there’s no Latin store close by, you can also find a whole array of Morita’s for sale on Amazon and other online shopping sites.
The beauty of Amazon is that you can buy Morita’s whole, pre-ground in powders, and in sauce-form.
With a good range of Morita’s in terms of heat, it is easy to find your preferred style of Morita to bring out the best in your Mexican flair of cooking.
Here’s some Morita’s that we particularly enjoy from the trustworthy chili and spice experts at Amazing Chiles & Spices. Coming in 5, 10, and 16-ounce packs, these delicious dried chilies come directly from a fair-trade farm straight at the source – Mexico!
Morita chili peppers are loved by foodies for their fruity flavor profile and versatility.
Whether you’re looking to make your own finger-licking good sauce to smother over chicken or blend through a spicy bean chili – we hope you’re feeling inspired to bring some of that famous Mexican passion and heat to the dining table.