Pronounced “POO-yuh”. The Puya Pepper is also sometimes referred to as “Pulla”. A member of the C.annum species the Puya chiles are plentiful in Mexico City and the surrounding region throughout the Central Valley of Mexico. Puya Chiles has been the center of a spirited debate among serious chile-heads in determining if it is a hybrid of the de Arbol or the Guajillo chile. We fall in the camp of it being related to the Guajillo.
Puya chiles look very similar to the more popular Guajillo. Puyas tend to be a bit smaller and pack more heat (5,000 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units) than the Guajillos (2,500-5,000 SHU). Puya chiles are considered a medium heat chile while Guajillos a more of a mild chile. The relationship between these two chiles closely resembles how the California Chile (also called Anaheim chiles) looks very similar to the New Mexico chile but with different heat levels.
Puya chiles are slightly curved and elongated while tapering to a point. 3-4” in length these thin red peppers ripen to a deep crimson to purplish color and are a bit translucent. These chiles have an intense heat that is pungent, dry and a bit dusty. Puya Chiles has a light fruity flavor profile, with licorice and cherry undertones that brings to mind wild berries. Our Puya chiles are grown in Mexico.
Puya chiles are a favorite substitute of Guajillos by sophisticated chefs who are looking more for their fruity flavor more than for the flesh of the chile pod. This makes them ideal to be diced, pureed or mashed and then made into a sauce.
The Puya Chile is a popular chile in central Mexican cuisine and we like to use these as a substitute for Guajillo chiles in our Mexican mole sauces for some added kick. Use Puya chiles to flavor meat dishes using chicken, fish, pork or veal. Also adds a delightful flavor to breakfast burritos, casseroles, chutneys, cooked vegetables, dips, enchiladas, pizza, salsas, sauces, soups, and stews.
To rehydrate your Puya chiles soak them in warm water for about 10 minutes and then either dice them or puree them in a food processor before adding to your recipe. Like most chiles we use we like to bring out even more intense flavor by roasting or toasting them first. You can either toast them in a hot skillet for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat or stick in a pre-heated 250° oven on a warm sheet for 3-4 minutes.
Stick your nose in a container of puyas and you’ll find it smells like the desert on a triple-digit day – dusty, dry, and pungent. The flavor tastes a bit of a young cherry – sweet and slightly tart. To best extract, the flavor uses the water the chile reconstituted in as the chile’s heat may quickly overtake its own flavor.
Dried Pulla chile peppers contain vitamin A, B and C, and significant amounts of iron, thiamine, niacin, magnesium, and riboflavin. Chiles are cholesterol-free, saturated fat-free, low calorie, low sodium, and high in fiber.
Use this Puya Chile, with its hot yet fruity flavor to enhance your favorite chili, soup, sauces, rice dishes or salsa. Add to a chicken or fish marinade for a complex flavor with a punch of heat.
Dried Pulla chile peppers can be used similarly to dried Guajillos, though they will impart more spice into the dish. They may be added directly to a recipe in the dried form or rehydrated by soaking in hot water for 10 minutes.
To maximize their flavor, roast for three to four minutes in 250-degree oven or toast in a dry cast iron skillet. They add a sharp high note of spice to stews, soups, dips, chutneys, casseroles, cooked vegetables, and as a seasoning for salsas, sauces, and marinades.
The Puya Pepper Salsa
The puya pepper is similar to the guajillo pepper, the difference is that it is smaller and spicier than the guajillo. This type of chili grows in the states of Michoacan and Jalisco, in fact, this salsa is from Michoacan and is very funny because the housewives of Michoacan use interchangeably the puya pepper and the guajillo pepper in their recipes.
And here we have a curious case because this salsa is born from the combination of the puya pepper with the guajillo pepper and to give freshness tomato and tomatillo is also used in the preparation. The outcome is a rustic and spicy salsa that has a lot of flavors.
The puya pepper salsa can be used as table salsa, this means that it simply has to be put on the table and your diners will manage to combine it with different foods. If you want to give them a suggestion … this salsa gives a very good flavor to dishes that have beef or pork.
About the Recipe
- This salsa is easy to make and you won’t perform many activities.
- The puya pepper may be difficult to get and it cannot be substituted because there is none chili alike.
- The preparation time is 25 minutes but you won’t work on the recipe throughout all the time.
- With this recipe, you will obtain 2 cups of salsa.
- 4 Puya Peppers (1.2 oz)
- 4 Tomatillos (7 oz)
- 2 Guajillo Peppers (.7 oz)
- 1 Tomato (7 oz)
- 2 Garlic cloves (.2 oz)
- 1/2 tablespoon of Salt
Roast Many Ingredients
- Remove the seeds and the veins of 2 guajillo peppers and 4 puya peppers.
- Put on a griddle over medium heat:
- The Guajillo Peppers with the ones you worked
- The Puya Peppers with the ones you worked
- 4 Tomatillos
- 1 Tomato
- Roast the chilies for about 3 minutes, the tomatillos for about 4 minutes and the tomato for about 5 minutes, until all their sides are moderately roasted; move them regularly with some tongs.