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I've traveled to Mexico and the US and seen different chilies available there, but at home in the UK (or even worse, in my fiancée's home of Finland) I find it very hard to find Ancho, Poblano and Chipotle chilies.

Oaxaca Restaurants lists a lot of interesting-sounding chilies, but I have no idea how to source them.

I have once found dried Chipotle chilies in a supermarket, but at that time I was not entirely sure of the right way to rehydrate them (and I'm still not).

Where should I look for North American type chilies? And if I only find dried, can I use them instead of fresh?

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What is your question? –  Aaronut Mar 4 '12 at 21:56
    
Sorry for not being specific enough :o) The questions were where to find these 'exotic' chillies in the UK, and how to rehydrate them properly when cooking with them. –  dsample Mar 4 '12 at 22:10
    
I'd also be interested if some of these varieties are readily available, but under different names, or equivalents with different names, like Habaneros being know as Scotch Bonnets over here (even if they're a slightly different variety). –  dsample Mar 4 '12 at 22:13
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Habanero and Scotch Bonnet are not the same thing (although they are similar). Feel free to ask a different question about substituting/rehydrating dried peppers, but please only ask one question at a time. –  Aaronut Mar 5 '12 at 0:40
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Dried and fresh chilies are used completely differently in Mexican cooking. Re-hydrating won't produce good results. I'd follow @TFD's suggestion, and grow your own. Even in the U.S., that's my preferred choice. Most commercially-available chilies available in the U.S. aren't as hot (spicy) as the ones available in Mexico (thanks to wimpy American taste buds!) –  Flimzy Mar 5 '12 at 4:57
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Mex Grocer has an excellent selection: http://www.mexgrocer.co.uk/. I've ordered chillies once from them in the past with success.

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That site looks very promising, with free delivery with orders over £50... might have to stock up on some other mexican essentials too. –  dsample Mar 8 '12 at 19:33
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There are a bunch of places online (a bunch sell through amazon). Personally I've found Chinese supermarkets to be pretty good. They may not sell every variety but they have much better range than the mainstream ones.

You don't really rehydrate them to their original form but soak them in warm water for about 20-30 minutes to get the flavour out and then just use them like regular fresh chilis.

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I've been able to find the chillies for the Thai food I cook from asian/oriental supermarkets, but I guess I'll have to have a harder look next time for other varieties. –  dsample Mar 5 '12 at 18:26
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The Chilli Company in Suffolk (just up the road from me :-) ) certainly have chipotle chillies as they sell chipotle sauce; although they don't list chillies for sale on their website it might be worth giving them a ring.

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I actually have the Cambridge Chilli Farm about 2 miles away from my home too, but having spoken to them in the past at a craft fair they didn't sell chillies on their own. Now they list chipotles for sale though, so I might give them another try. –  dsample Mar 11 '12 at 22:18
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