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Sep 7, 2011 03:09 PM

ISO – A substitute for choricero and ñora peppers

Hello Home Cooking hounds,

Recently, I've been trying my hand at Spanish cuisine. Finding ingredients hasn't been that hard. but finding Spanish dried peppers has been a bit difficult. I've managed to get my hands on some ñoras, but they are pretty expensive. For choriceros, I've only found the flesh in small jars, but the amount I get for the money makes it unaffordable.

So I'd like to know what you guys suggest as subs for these peppers. I can get get my hands on a wide variety of Mexican dried chiles as well as a few from South-America. Alas, Southwestern chiles are pretty much impossible to find here.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions,


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  1. You can purchase nora peppers on-line from The Spanish Table and La Tienda. In a pinch, I have used dried pasilla peppers as a substitute.

    1 Reply
    1. re: penthouse pup

      Thanks for the tips. I've looked at La Tienda and Spanish Table. La Tienda only sells ñoras and The Spanish Table doesn't seem to have any dried peppers.

      I forgot to say that I'm in Canada and that the cost of having things shipped in from the US is a bit prohibitive. Even though the ñoras from La Tienda are much cheaper than the ones I can find here, I would have to order a large amount to make it worthwhile.

    2. What did the ñoras taste like? The New Spanish Table suggests Mexican anchos as an alternative. At least the heat level is about right. Obviously you would have to adjust the quantity.

      Based on the cookbooks that I've worked from, I think pimenton is the only, truly unique dried Spanish pepper.

      6 Replies
      1. re: paulj

        In my experience, noras are mild. The idea of using dried anchos as referenced above--mixed with pasilla--will get you an approximation.

        I did look at Amazon, and they sell noras--but the cost with shipping for you may be a problem.

        1. re: paulj

          paulj, the ñoras I have (La Barraca brand) are mildly piquant, earthy and quite bitter. From memory I would say they smell like pasillas, although I have no pasillas to compare. They are not as fragrant as anchos. I guess I should just go chile shopping and do comparisons.

          "I think pimenton is the only, truly unique dried Spanish pepper."

          That's not quite true. Pimentón is not a variety of pepper, it's a type of condiment. Pimentón de la Vera is actually made from four different varieties of peppers used in different proportions to make the dulce, piquante and agridulce varieties. Pimentón de Murcia is made from ñoras, but that's not the one we generally find in North America.

          Ñoras and choriceros are distinct varieties of pepper developed in Spain, although I don't believe either has been granted protected geographical status.

          1. re: SnackHappy

            OK, with Pimentón it's the processing that's more significant than the strain.

            I'm not familiar with choriceros, except my reading points to it being a sweet pepper, best known for adding color to chorizo. Would a sweet Hungarian paprika, or even bulk Spanish paprika, be a suitable substitute?

            When I think about substitutes, I try to figure out what the ingredient adds to the dish, and then focus on that quality. In the case of chiles, is it color? heat? smokiness? earthy, slightly bitter taste? texture?

            In appearance whole noras are most like the Mexican cascabel, the rounded (jingle) bell shape. I haven't used the cascabel much but I think it is somewhat hotter.

            1. re: paulj

              Thanks for the ideas. Using pimentón would probably work for certain applications better than others. I reckon texture might sometimes be an issue. I was hoping to avoid having to experiment, but I guess I'll have to.

              1. re: SnackHappy

                Are dried ones used in any other form than powdered (or flakes) or reconstituted puree?

                1. re: paulj

                  Well, normally they are re-hydrated and the flesh is removed and used for cooking. The seeds, stems and skin are discarded. I guess that's what you mean by reconstituted puree?

        2. Penelope Casas suggests dried New Mexico peppers in "The Foods and Wine of Spain" instead of ñoras which were not readily available at the time the book was written and Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid in "The Seductions of Rice" suggest a grilled red bell pepper instead of a ñora in their version of caldero murciano. ¡ Buen provecho!

          1 Reply
          1. re: BigSal

            Thank you for the tips. I can't get my hands on New Mexico peppers, but I have some in powdered form. I'll see if I can use that.