Pipian Rojo

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

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2 oz. whole dried ancho chiles
2 ounces whole dried guajillo chiles
1 quart water
3/4 pound Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup green unroasted pumpkin seeds
6 cloves garlic, roasted and peeled
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tsp. adobo sauce
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
2 tsp. canela or 1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
salt to taste
1 tsp. peanut oil


Remove the stems and seeds from the ancho and guajillo chiles, then roast the chiles on a comal for about 30 seconds then cover them with hot water and soak for 20 minutes. Set aside.

Blacken the tomatoes in a skillet or under a broiler for about 5 minutes. Saute the onion in some oil over low heat until they have slightly browned. Dry-roast the pumpkin seeds in a saute pan for about 5 minutes until they have finished popping. Place the roasted seeds in a blender and puree together with the tomatoes to form a paste. Add the chiles, about 1/2 cup of the chile soaking water, onion, garlic, chipotles, adobo sauce, peanuts, spices, sugar and salt. Puree the mixture well.

Add the peanut oil to a high-sided pan, and heat until it almost smoking. Refry the chile sauce to a sizzle for about 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously. Serve the sauce at room temperature. It is great with roasted or grilled poultry and game.