Serrano peppers belong to the moderately hot chili pepper type that is aptly named after the region they are native to. Let's look into this in detail below.
This is a hotter version of the jalapenos.
These serrano have luscious, smooth skin and have a cylindrical shape that tends to taper down at the end with the rounded tip. They look smaller and about half the size of jalapeños.
One of the most popular and common peppers in Mexico, that’s widely used in making authentic Mexican recipes like salsas and relishes.
And now, many modern cuisines embrace serrano peppers for their depth of flavors and the intense heat. It’s used in many recipes, including, but not limited to, gourmet sauces, and marinades. And it’s also often used to add a punch to the cocktails and drinks.
What are serrano peppers?
These are medium-hot chili peppers, and native to Mexican mountain regions. In Spanish, the word ‘serrano’ refers to the mountains/highlands(the area they belong to). It is also a famous chili pepper commonly available in the grocery stores of the United States.
The fully grown matured peppers are about 2 inches long and 1 inch thick and have an elongated cylindrical shape.
The unripe peppers are green; while they mature, they may turn into yellow and orange colors, whereas the ripened peppers have vibrant red color and fruity flavors.
These are hotter than the jalapeno but not as hot as the habanero pepper. These do have thin skin, firm, and thick flesh. Making them ideal for stir-fries, roasting, and grilling.
Because of its thick wall, sun drying or air drying will not give optimum results. But performs well in the recipes that call for the texture and the heat.
An intro to serrano pepper
The fresh Serrano peppers are grown and harvested in the late summer and till the fall season. But my local Wegmans store carries these throughout the year, allowing me to enjoy them in various recipes without worrying about its growing season.
The green, unripe pepper has a crisp texture and grassy taste. And it mellows down to tender with mild sweetness as it ripens. On the other hand, its heat and peppery flavors intensify as it ages. The ripe peppers are hotter with bold flavors than the unripe, green ones.
The Scoville scale units of serrano pepper
Are serrano peppers hot? Yes, its heat ranges between 10,000 to 23,000 SHU units. At the same time, jalapeno ranges between and green pepper measures at 0 SHU. The seeds are cream in color, and flat and round in shape.
The seeds are clutched to the white membrane evenly distributed in its body. The white membrane that holds the seeds and contains the heat-causing chemical ‘capsaicin’. And this capsaicin is found in the coatings of the seeds as well.
If you want to reduce the heat in a recipe, remove the pepper’s pith(the white membrane responsible for 70% of the heat in a pepper) and tone down the heat to a considerable amount.
What are serrano peppers good for?
It works great on a chopped salad, guacamole, salsa, and hot sauces. While cooking curries and chilies, you may add them as a whole and discard them later, infusing the dishes with rich, zesty flavors with less heat.
Always handle with caution; you may also wear gloves to avoid any skin irritations.
Are serrano peppers hotter than habanero?
No serrano peppers are milder when compared with habanero and hotter when compared with jalapeno. But still, serrano peppers are considerably hot to an average American palate.
What can I substitute for a serrano pepper?
Thai chili pepper, jalapeno, and Fresno peppers are some of the closest peppers that are good to substitute.