Pasilla Chiles, Capsicum annuum, are indigenous to Central Mexico. Pronounced “pah-SEE-yah”, this is a key chile in the famous “holy trinity” of Mexican chiles used in Mexican moles along with the ancho and the mulato chiles.
Like many chiles these are known as one thing when fresh and are called something else when in their dried state. The fresh version is known as Chilaca chiles and these dark green chiles have a similar heat profile to the more popular Poblano pepper (when dried known as ancho chile).
The Chilaca chile is narrow and grows up to 10” long and usually has a twisted shape, which is not as pronounced when dried, in its fresh form it is also known as pasilla bajio, chile negro or “Mexican negro”. Chilacas change from dark green to dark brown as they mature. When a Chilaca is dried it becomes known as a pasilla chile, perhaps because its skin is so wrinkled that it resembles a grape or a prune. When dried this chile is black in color and is called Pasilla Negro, chile negro, chile pasilla and chile pasilla de Mexico.