Tag Archives: Chile de Arbol

Chile de Arbol Ahi Tuna Tacos

Are you in the habit of freezing foods that you made too much of? I never used to be that person. I always had good intentions to freeze leftovers, then I would end up throwing them out when they were too old and growing  a foreign sumptin, sumptin on top, lol! Well, I have been reformed for a few years now and I have to say it works out great for us. I found what works for me and I cannot remember the last time I had to throw leftover food out. Of course, unless it’s some food item that cannot be frozen, then we have to eat it until gone, ha, ha, ha! The star freezer recipe of this delicious tuna taco is the oil and vinegar based chile de arbol salsa I prepared quite a while back.  In Spanish it is called  Salsa de Aceite Estilo Carretas. I had just about 3/4 of a cup left and I packed it in 1/4 cup storage containers. It freezes well and it is perfect for a kicked up marinade or added spice for many foods. I do incorporate dried chile peppers in many of my recipes, but there are times when I have so many, that I will prepare this salsa to preserve them even longer. If you have never tried ahi tuna steaks for fear of them being fishy tasting or hard to cook, I would urge you to pick some up soon! Just 3 minutes per side and you have the most perfect medium/rare, tender, melt in mouth fish you will ever have.  Fish tacos never tasted so good!

Chile de Arbol Ahi Tuna Tacos

Chile de Arbol Ahi Tuna Tacos

Ingredients
2 ahi tuna steaks(about 1 one pound total)
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1/4 to 1/3 cup chile de arbol oil and vinegar based salsa(see link below)
Grapeseed or olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 lime
*1/4 to 1/3 cup white wine, beer or chicken broth

For Garnish
Pico de gallo
Avocado slices

Chile de Arbol Ahi Tuna Tacos

Tips~ This oil and vinegar based salsa can be used as a basting sauce for grilled chicken, pork or steak.  Heat level on salsa is between 6 and 8.

Chile de Arbol Tuna Steak Tacos

Directions

1. Season the tuna lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. Generously brush  with the chile de arbol salsa on both sides. Cover and marinate for 1 hour.

2. Remove tuna from refrigerator 20 to 25 minutes before you cook it. Preheat 2 tablespoons of grapeseed or olive oil  in a skillet to medium heat for a few minutes. When pan is very hot, sear tuna for 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan onto plate. and tent with foil paper.

3. To that same skillet, add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, juice of 1 lime, 1/4 cup white wine, beer or chicken broth. Taste for  salt and pepper and cook at a low simmer for 5 minutes. Slice thin or into small chunks.  Pour sauce from pan over tuna. Serve with warm tortillas, pico de gallo and avocado slices. Yields 2 dinner servings or 4 starter servings.

Salsa de Aceite Estilo Las Carretas- Oil and Vinegar Based Chile de Arbol Salsa. Click onto picture to see full recipe.

Oil and Vinegar Based Chile de Arbol Salsa

Tips~ When preparing this salsa, I would suggest tearing or cutting them into smaller pieces before you cook them in the oil.

 

Chile de Arbol Ahi Tuna Steak Tacos

Tips~ Take the extra sauce and cover warm corn tortillas with it before adding tuna. 

Chile de Arbol Tuna Steak Tacos

Tips~ Click  and type Corn Tortillas into the search bar for homemade tortilla recipe. 

Chile Oil, Marinade and Adobo~ Mexican Kitchen

Over the years, I have tried many and have prepared many spice blends, marinades and adobo sauces. The one constant ingredient in all of them are dried peppers. Whether  toasted, pureed into a sauce or in a powder form, the  dried chiles are an essential and key ingredient if you are looking to prepare authentic Mexican flavors. The flavors and heat levels vary. Rule of thumb is, the smaller the pepper, the spicier it will be. In today’s blog entry, I would like to share a few recipes  I prepared with a chile and garlic oil using the dried  chile de arbol.  It is on the spicy side, so a little goes a long way.  

  Oil and Vinegar Based Chile de Arbol Salsa (Chile Oil). In Mexico the name is Salsa de Aceite Estilo Las Carretas

Salsa de Aceite Estilos las Carretas
Salsa de Aceite Estilo las Carretas


1/2 cup oil, plus 1/4 cup more reserved (canola or grapeseed)
1/4 pound chile de arbol, stems removed
5 chile New Mexico or guajillos, stems and seeds removed
6 cloves garlic
1/3 cup cider vinegar
Salt to taste
*more oil if needed

Directions

1. In a pan, combine the 1/2 cup oil, chile de arbol, new mexico peppers and garlic. Bring up to temperature at medium heat. When the peppers become aromatic, lower heat and stir often. You want the peppers to become bright red and slightly soft. Do not let them get  too dark or they will be bitter. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Transfer chile/oil mixture to the blender, add vinegar and salt to taste. Pulse to blend, adding more of the reserved oil if it’s too thick.  Cool at room temperature and store in an airtight container in the coldest part of the refrigerator. When using for a recipe, scoop out the amount you will be using and return unused portion back to refrigerator. I find that if the chile oil is exposed to too much temperature change, it could spoil faster. It will keep for a few months in the refrigerator. Yields about 2 cups. Once you have prepared the chile oil, here are a few recipes I prepared, each with a slight variation.

Tips~ For a milder chile oil, add only half of the chile de arbol and double up on the chile guajillos. You could add some chile ancho as well.

 

Grilled Chicken Tenders Basted with Chile Oil

Grilled Chicken Tenders Basted with Chile Oil
Grilled Chicken Tenders Basted with Chile Oil

1 pound chicken tenders or 8 pieces

Salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, crushed

Olive oil

1/4 cup chile oil

1 tablespoon honey

Juice of 1 key lime or half of a regular lime

Directions

1. Season the tenders (to taste) with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Add the oregano and drizzle with olive oil, set aside.

2. Preheat outdoor or stove top grill pan to medium heat for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the chile oil, lime juice and honey,  taste for salt and set aside. Brush the grill or pan with a little oil. Grill the tenders for about 5 minutes per side if thick in the middle. Before taking off of the grill, baste with chile oil mixture on both sides. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes.

3. Serve as is over a salad or serve on slider size rolls with avocado, tomato, cilantro, grilled onions and a little crema or mayonnaise. Yields 4 servings.

Grilled Chicken Tenders Basted in Chile Oil
Grilled Chicken Tenders Basted in Chile Oil

 

Grilled Flank Steak

Chile Oil Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
Chile Oil Marinated Grilled Flank Steak

1 pound flank or skirt steak

1/4 cup chile oil

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon cumin

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Chile Marinated Flank Steak
Chile Marinated Flank Steak

Directions

1. Combine the chile oil, lime juice, oregano, cumin 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

2. Lightly season the steak with salt and pepper, transfer to storage container or plastic storage bag. Add the chile oil mixture and coat steak evenly. Chill and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

3.  Remove steak from refrigerator at least 40 minutes before cooking. When ready to cook, preheat outdoor grill to high for a few minutes. Brush grates with oil, grill steak for 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Add an extra minute per side if you like it more well done.  Remove from heat, tent loosely with foil paper and let steak rest for 5 minutes. When ready to serve, slice thin against the grain. Yields 4 servings for tacos.   

Chile Marinated Grilled Flank Steak Taco
Chile Marinated Grilled Flank Steak Taco. The salsa is a twist on classic pico de gallo. Instead of fresh tomatoes and diced white onion, I added sun dried tomatoes and green onions.

 

Pan Seared Chile de Arbol Mahi Mahi

Pan Seared Chile de Arbol Mahi Mahi
Pan Seared Chile de Arbol Mahi Mahi



1/8 cup chile de arbol oil 

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

Juice of 1 key lime

olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Mahi Mahi fillets (about 6 ounces each)

Directions

1. Combine Ccile oil, Old Bay seasoning, lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over fillets and coat evenly. Marinate for 1 hour.

2. remove fish from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat skillet to medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook for 4 minutes per side or until fish is flaky. Remove from heat and serve right away. Garnish with fresh salsa or guacamole.  Serve with chips or corn tostadas. Yields 2 servings.

 

Mahi Mahi Marinated in Chile OIl
Mahi Mahi Marinated in Chile OIl
Pan Seared Marinated Mahi Mahi
Pan Seared Chile de Arbol Mahi Mahi

 

 

 

Dried Chiles~ Staples of a Mexican Kitchen

For as far back as I can remember, there were a few”must have” staples  in my Mom’s kitchen. Tomatoes, fresh chiles, onions, cilantro and a variety of dried chile peppers. What, no garlic? People are surprised when I tell them how fresh garlic was not used in my mom’s everyday cooking  as they had imagined. The fresh garlic was reserved for cooking frijoles or caldos (soups). I always assumed that it was because she was too busy raising eight kids, she did not have time to mince garlic, lol! Of course there was always that jar of garlic powder in the cupboard for guisados and rice. Since those days, I have learned to cook with fresh garlic and lots of it. One thing that was a constant was that storage container with half torn plastic bags of dried chile peppers, such as chile ancho and chile de arbol. The chile ancho was must for tamales, chile colorado and costillas de puerco. And with tamales, came the salsa de tomatillo, prepared spicy with the added chile de arbol.  For this blog post today, I want to share some pictures of the dried chiles I keep in my kitchen. Besides the few dishes I mentioned above, you can prepare a variety of sauces and salsa’s using the dried chiles. For the first entry, I prepared a spicy salsa recipe that was inspired and adapted from a bottle of hot sauce from my favorite Mexican chef Rick Bayless. It’s a Toasted Chile Salsa, which also includes toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and ajonjoli (sesame seeds). I have prepared many dried chile recipes and will add a few new ones to this post every month.

Dried chiles can be used in everyday dishes to add a little heat and rich red colors!
Dried chiles can be used in everyday dishes to add a little heat and rich red colors!

 

Toasted Chile Salsa

1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup ajonjoli (sesame seeds)
24 chile de arbol, stems removed
2 chile guajillo
1/2 tablespoon Mexican oregano
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 key lime
salt to taste

 

Toasted Chile Salsa with pumpkin, sesame seeds, oregano
Toasted Chile Salsa with pumpkin, sesame seeds, oregano

 

1. Preheat a comal or griddle pan to medium/low heat for 5 minutes. Add all the chiles, pepitas and ajonjoli to the comal or griddle. When toasting chiles, seeds or nuts, you should never leave unattended because they can burn easily. Toast them for about 5 to 7 minutes, turning as needed. 

2. When the peppers become aromatic and blacken in some spots, they are ready. the sesame seeds and pepitas will also turn slightly brown in color.If you let any of them go too long, they will taste bitter. Before removing ingredients from comal, add the oregano for a minute. 

3. Transfer all of the ingredients to the blender. Add all of the remaining ingredients listed. Blend on high until smooth. You will have to psh ingredients down with a spatula a couple of times to make sure it all blends well. Taste for salt. If you want to thin out the salsa a little more, just add a little more water.

Dried chiles, herbs,nuts and seeds are all essential to an authentic Mexican kitchen.
Dried chiles, herbs,nuts and seeds are all essential to an authentic Mexican kitchen.

 

Salsa Ranchera Estilo La Costeña. I remember going home to L.A. and trips to the Giant Dollar store. Mom would purchase at least 10 jars of La Costeña brand Salsa Ranchera. Not many store bought brands she liked, but this one was delicious! This is my version of the Salsa Ranchera but with chile de arbol instead of jalapeños.

Salsa Ranchera

6 tomatillos, peeled and washed
4 chile ancho
12 to 24 chile de arbol depending on your heat level.
4 cloves garlic
1/4 of a white onion
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste

*If using the fresh jalapeño, I would start with at least  4 to 5

Salsa Ranchera

Tips~For my version of this salsa, I prefer to use chile de arbol. I believe the bottled version they use jalapeños.

Salsa RancheraNot the best time for foods photos, in the evening…

Directions

1. Remove the stems and seeds from the chile ancho and just the stems from chile de arbol.

2. Add all of the ingredients, minus the oregano, cumin and salt, to a pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes.

3. Drain the water and transfer to the blender. Add the oregano, cumin and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth.

Salsa Ranchera

Chile de Arbol
Chile de Arbol is my favorite, go to pepper for many of my salsa recipes. It pairs well with tomatillos!

2Salsa Ranchera

 

Toasted Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce, a variation that is prepared with   mostly vinegar and water. I learned how to prepare an Asian style chile sauce a few years back and this is the same method I used to prepare this recipe. I did not add any sugar, but you most certainly can if you like it sweet and spicy. Besides just enjoying it as a hot sauce, I use this as a base for a spicy marinade on seafood or chicken with a little added oil , citrus and more garlic.

Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce. The vinegar will preserve this chile sauce for a few months.
Chile de Arbol Hot Sauce. The vinegar will preserve this chile sauce for a few months. The charred tomatillos gives this hot sauce a nice finish.



1/4 pound of Chile de arbol
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
4 roasted tomatillos (I char them on the stove top in a little oil)
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste…I used about 5 teaspoons
3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water to make a slurry

1. Toast the chile de arbol in a skillet and medium/low heat for a few minutes. Turn it often so it does not burn. You will have some dark spots and it will become aromatic. Remove from heat and transfer to the blender.

2. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the blender, minus the cornstarch slurry. Blend on high until mostly smooth.

3. Transfer hot sauce to saucepan and heat to medium. As soon as it comes to a low simmer, whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Stir well to combine and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Taste for salt. Let cool completely at room temperature before storing in an airtight container. It will keep in refrigerator for a few months.

Toasting the chile de arbol adds a nice smoky flavor. They toast quickly. I remove them from the heat as soon as they become aromatic.
Toasting the chile de arbol adds a nice smoky flavor. They toast quickly. I remove them from the heat as soon as they become aromatic.

 

Salsa de Aceite Estilo las Carretas~ Oil Based Chile de Arbol Salsa

I have prepared this style of salsa before many times, but really did not know the true name for it, lol! The other day while browsing through youtube, I came across a food video in Spanish and there it was! I like to add some vinegar to mine for that hint of acid that I love so much.

Salsa de Chile de Arbol con Aceite
1/2 cup oil, I used an olive oil and  canola blend, plus 1/4 cup separate

1/4 pound chile de arbol, stems removed

5 chile New Mexico or guajillos, stems and seeds removed
6 cloves garlic
1/3 cup cider vinegar, or more to taste
Salt to taste
*more oil if needed

Chile de Arbol and Garlic steeped in oil for salsa
Chile de Arbol and Garlic steeped in oil for salsa

1. In a pan, combine the 1/2 cup oil, chile de arbol, new mexico peppers and garlic. Bring up to temperature at medium heat. When the peppers become aromatic, lower heat and stir often. You want the peppers to become bright red and slightly soft. Do not let them get dark or they will be bitter. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Transfer chile/oil mixture to the blender, add vinegar, another 1/4 cup oil and salt to taste. Pulse to blend, adding more oil if it’s too thick. Yields about 2 cups.

Salsa de Aceite Estilos las Carretas
Salsa de Aceite Estilos las Carretas

 

Chile Japones
Chile Japones is very similar to chile de arbol, a good substitute when chile de arbol is not available

 

Chile Pequin
Chile Pequin is one of my favorites, hard to find, spicy, adds great flavor and heat!

 

Chile Ancho
Chile Ancho is the pepper commonly found in most dark chili powders, mild most of the time.

 

Chiles New Mexico, California and Guajillos are very similar
Chiles New Mexico, California and Guajillos are very similar and mild, but add a great vibrant red color

 

Chile Pasilla tends to be one of the darkest in color
Chile Pasilla tends to be one of the darkest in color.

 

Chile Chipotle adds some good heat and smoky flavors to your recipes
Chile Chipotle adds some good heat and smoky flavors to your recipes