Hot Sweet Date-Onion Chutney

De Arbol (Capsicum Annuum) means tree like in Spanish. The plant has thick, upright, woody stems and the chile itself is narrow, curved and bright red in color. Believed to be closely related to the pequin, the De Arbol is thin fleshed, with tannic, smoky, grassy flavor and searing heat. This chile has a heat range of 7.5 on the heat scale of 1-10. De Arbol Chiles are comparable to a Cayenne Pepper. Scoville heat units 15,000 to 30,000.

Suggested Use:
De Arbol is a hot chile and a staple in Southwest kitchens. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish. Be adventurous and add them to your next stew or chili along with the other spices. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish.

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3 dried red chiles de arbol, stemmed
2 Tbsp. raw sesame oil, vegetable oil, or ghee
1 large white onion (about 1/2 pound), coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates


Put the chiles de arbol in a small bowl and add 1 cup of hot water. Set the bowl aside and let the chiles soak for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok, karhai or a wide heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and salt and cook until the onion is well touched with brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Drain the chiles de arbol and place them in a food processor, then add the chopped dates and process for about 30 seconds to finely chop. Add the onion mixture and process for aa additional 15 seconds to chop and blend the ingredients. Alternatively, place the drained chiles on a flat stone mortar and grind to a paste with the pestle, add the dates and grind, and finally, add the cooked onion mixture and coarsely grind, leaving some small chunks.

Taste the chutney for salt, and adjust if necessary. Serve in a condiment dish. (Store leftovers in a well-sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to several weeks.)

Recipe from “Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent” by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, ISBN: 1-57965-252-2.