The Chile de Arbol (Spanish for tree chili) is a small, but very potent Mexican chili pepper which is also known as bird's beak chile. The chile de Arbol is very hot, and is related to cayenne pepper. Small and plenty hot, Chile de Arbol can also be used to decorate wreaths in its dried form.
Arbol chiles are found in numerous Chinese, Mexican, Southeast Asian and Southwestern dishes. Their intense heat lends them to applications where they are an accent rather than a main ingredient. The flavor of De Arbol chiles is considered superior to other chile peppers by many competition chili cooks and is considered a staple in many southwestern US kitchens. We like to use it in place of cayenne as the heat levels are similar but the De Arbol chile is much more flavorful than the cayenne which is light on flavor.
We like to dry toast Arbol Chiles on a hot skillet and then toss in the blender with tomatillos, onion, roasted garlic, lime, a little salt and a little water for a flavorful quick green table salsa. They can be used to make a pepper mash for a hot sauce base by fermenting three parts vinegar to one part dried chile for several weeks. Add the crushed or whole chiles to pickle brines and Escabeches (fish marinated and cooked in an acidic mixture -- usually vinegar) for a concentrated spicy heat.
We like to use Arbol chiles in marinades, soups and of course in salsas and hot sauces.
Arbol Chile's long thin size, heat and flavor makes it an ideal chile in infusions. We've had customers use them to infuse honey, olive oil, tea, vinegar and even vodka. They can also be used to add a spicy kick as a garnish and can be added to homemade lemonade and margaritas.
Scoville heat rating (SHU) of 15,000 - 30,000