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One of the smallest chile peppers but also one of the hottest. The chile is very small and has an elongated shape. It is very similar in taste and hotness to the Chiltepin. The chiltepin is just a little smaller than the piquin chile and has a more rounded shape. Often mistaken for each other, they are both very popular and eaten fresh or dried. Their heat is slow to take affect but lasts on the taste buds for a long time. Younger chilies are green in color and as the mature they turn an orange-red color or brownish-red when dried. Mildly sweet, with a somewhat smoky flavor, the heat in this chile comes from the ribs and seeds. Removing some or all of these parts will reduce the degree of hotness. Available fresh, dried, and in powder form, piquin chilies and chiltepin chilies are mainly used to flavor Hispanic, Asian, and Indian foods such as hot-pepper seasoning sauces, soups, stews, and bean dishes. Fresh chilies can be stored in the refrigerator, unwrapped, for up to a week. Do not store in plastic because this will allow them to retain moisture and causing the chile to rot. The pequin chile is also known as a pequin, chile piquin and may be referred to as the chiltepin. When found in the wild, it is known as the bird pepper or chile mosquito.
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