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Substitute for chipotles in adobe?

Dear All

I have foolishly promised to bring extra special treats to my book club in return for them changing the date to suit me. So I was thinking of making goodhealthgourmet's black bean dip but I see it requires chipotles in adobe, which are not readily available in the UK. (In fact I don't really know what they are.)

Any ideas for substitutes? Can I use pickled jalapenos, for example? I do have some chipotle chilli flakes.

Many thanks in advance.

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  1. pickled jalepenos are not a good substitute-- chipotles are smoked and dried ripe jalepenos. They are quite spicy and smoky and you'd miss that with pickled green jalepenos. I would make an adobo sauce (you should be able to throw together the ingredients for that) and then spice it up with your chipotle flakes. Adobo sauce is a sort of sweet and sour tomato mix- I found this recipe for chipotles in adobo- don't know how authentic but I think it should work for you:


    1 Reply
    1. re: DGresh

      Here's a black bean dip that uses pickled jalapeños


      I have no idea whether it is better or worse than the one the OP has in mind. Neither is authentic in the sense of following some traditional Mexican recipe.

      1. GG- There is a Mexican store in Bethnal Green that stocks Mexican groceries and has chipotles. I just went there last week to pick up a supply for myself.

        Cool Chile Co. also makes some. I believe they have a stall at Borough.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dexters

          I am intending to make a trip there at some point but I won't have time before tomorrow. But thanks for the tip.

        2. DEFINITELY don't try substituting pickled jalapenos for chipotles. hard to think of two more different chiles.

          also, keep in mind that there are dried chipotles and there are canned chipotles. the canned ones come in a red, smoky, spicy sauce. the dried ones are VERY dry, even moreso than sun dried tomatoes. not sure which version your recipe calls for, but you should be aware of the difference when buying them. good luck!!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: ceviche

            With all due respect, they are the same pepper, just processed in two very different ways.

            1. re: janetms383

              of course. but i can't see them being interchangeable, unlike many other chiles.

          2. Grind up the chipotle chili flakes, and add a small amount of tomato paste if you like.

            Other subs: ground dried chipotles (not just flakes)
            Smoked paprika + cayenne pepper: Not perfect, but adds smokiness and heat and may be easier to find

            1. Chipotles are smoke dried jalapeños. Chipotle in adobo are these dried peppers canned in a tomato sauce. The exact nature of the sauce varies with brand. For many people just a bit of the sauce adds enough heat to dish. How much does the recipe call for? It probably is enough to add some bite to the dip, but not so much that you would detect a texture.

              You could use almost any thing to add heat to your dip. Something that would add heat as well as smokiness would be a hot Spanish pimenton (smoked paprika). This is probably easier to find in the UK. Otherwise you could just make the dip, and then add any hot sauce or powder to taste.

              16 Replies
              1. re: paulj

                jsaimd & paulj - thanks very much for your help. I have some hot smoked paprika and some chipotle chilli flakes. I will experiment - maybe try adding a bit of tomato paste and bit of vinegar?

                1. re: greedygirl

                  That's the way I'd go - tomato paste, white or apple cider vinegar, and chipotle chili flakes.

                  1. re: alwayscooking

                    Here's the original recipe by the way, if that helps.


                    1 19-oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
                    2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
                    2 Tbsp.coarsely chopped onion
                    ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro [leaves & stems]
                    1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
                    2 Tbsp. low- or nonfat sour cream or yogurt
                    1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo, coarsely chopped [amount depends on heat preference]
                    1 tsp. ground cumin
                    ½ tsp. red chili powder
                    ½ tsp. smoked paprika [pimentón de la vera]
                    salt and freshly ground pepper

                    in a food processor, combine all ingredients except salt & pepper. process until smooth. taste for seasoning, add salt & pepper to taste, and blend thoroughly. if you prefer a thinner dip continue processing and add water 1 Tbsp. at a time until desired consistency is reached.

                    transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with 2 Tbsp. of chopped cilantro if desired, and serve with homemade chips [see below], and/or crudités.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Especially since it is calling for the chiles, chopped, and not the adobo sauce, I'd just make it without any substitutions. Then taste it, and add more line juice, chipotle flakes or pimenton to taste. You are going to be tasting for salt anyways.

                      1. re: paulj

                        Just have to disagree =)

                        The chilies and the sauce are hard to separate - just taste the chopped chilies. There will definitely be a strong tomato/vinegar flavor and so I think to be true to the recipe, these two ingredients need to be added.

                        1. re: alwayscooking

                          So, to replace two whole chipotles, how much tomato and vinegar would you add? 1 tsp each? 2 Ts?

                          1. re: paulj

                            Paulj - You know I can't provide you with a specific recipe

                            I am suggesting to the OP that there will be a strong vinegar and tomato flavor to the chipotles that she may want to add to the recipe. They way I'd do it would be to create a small sauce of the tomatoes, vinegar (and personally I'd add soy and some sugar for a rounder flavor), and a whole lot of flakes. I'd adjust this until it reached a very hot adobe flavor.

                            Since the dip recipe calls for 2 chipotles, I'd start with 1T and adjust until I liked it.

                            1. re: alwayscooking

                              Remember that I don't know what adobe tastes like!

                          2. re: alwayscooking

                            These descriptions may be somewhat dated, but Rick Bayless describes several brands of canned chipoles en adobo:
                            "San Marcos packs the really smoky chipoles mecos with a minimum of added flavor; La Preferida packs mecos, but with lots of sugar in the sauce; .. La Costena makes an unhappy, chopped-up pickled affair with moras.'

                            That variability is part of why I don't think it is worthwhile trying to replicate the sauce part of the canned version. We don't know what flavors the recipe author had in mind. Also the recipe says 'amount depends on heat preference'. The amount could be 0, 1, or 10. :)

                            One way to test this, is take out a sample of the nearly finished dip, and add a squirt of ketchup (tomato, sugar, vinegar, onion), and see if that improves the taste.

                            1. re: paulj

                              Ketchup - now that sounds like the way to go. I actually have a homemade smoky chilli sauce which is made with a base of homemade ketchup and chipotle flakes. Maybe a dash of that would work?

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Certainly worth a try.

                                Alwayscooking and I have different opinions on how what taste the original recipe writer intended to provide with the chipotles, but its your taste that has the final say.

                        2. re: greedygirl

                          The smokey ketchup sounds like the plan - you can add more heat and smoke to the overall dish with the flakes if needed.

                          Paulj - it's the differences in cooking that makes this interesting!

                          1. re: alwayscooking

                            So I improvised a bit and it came out really well. I used a bit of the smoky ketchup and a bit of a South American smoked chilli sauce I had knocking around. I tasted it and the flavours seemed a bit "off" so added a squirt of good old Heinz and it was perfect. Obviously needed the sugar in the regular ketchup. My friends loved it and there were many requests for the recipe.

                            Thanks everyone for your helpful advice. Am planning a trip to the Mexican store in East London to stock up on the real deal now!

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              That black bean dip is really addictive--that's it, will make it again this weekend. Love the stuff! I've been fighting the urge but there have been recent posts that have pushed me over the brink...LOL...at least, it IS healthy! I just have to stop myself from eating too much at one time.

                              1. re: Val

                                It depends what you serve it with - tortilla chips = yum but not so healthy!

                              2. re: greedygirl

                                Glad it worked out! You've got me craving the dip now so I am going to break into my stash of chipotles and make it this weekend.

                    2. I enjoyed reading this thread and got a good recipe out of it! I am glad everything worked out for you greedygirl.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wineos

                        Thanks. I have to say the dip is addictive, as Val says. I just finished the leftovers with crudités, and was practically licking the bowl!