The skin of this dried chile is shiny-smooth and a deep, burnished red. The chile is very tough and must be soaked longer than most dried chiles. The flavorful guajillo is pointed, long and narrow (about 4 inches by 1 inch). Because it can be quite hot, the guajillo is also sometimes called the travieso ("mischievous") chile in reference to its not-so-playful sting. It's used in both sauces and cooked dishes.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.