What is Chili Powder?
"Chili powder is a generic name for any powdered spice mix composed chiefly of chili peppers, most commonly either red peppers or cayenne peppers, which are both of the species Capsicum annuum."
"It can be made from virtually any hot pepper including ancho, Cayenne, Jalapeño, New Mexico, and pasilla chilis."
"The spice mix may simply be pure powdered chilis, or it may have other additives, especially cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and salt. Some mixes may even include black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, mace, nutmeg, or turmeric. As a result of the various different potential additives, the spiciness of any given chili powder is incredibly variable. As a rule, the purer the chili powder is, the spicier it is."
"Chili powder is regularly used in traditional Indian cuisine."
"Today they are especially popular in American cuisine, where they are the primary flavor ingredient in chili con carne. The first commercial blends of chili powder in the U.S. were created in the 1890s by D.C. Pendery and William Gebhardt for precisely this dish."
Chili Powder Recipe
Chili powder, as sold in stores, and called for in most recipes, is not simply powdered chili, but a blend of chili and other spices.
- 3-8 dried chilies (mix or match depending upon availability and taste) Choose between -ancho (mild), pasilla (mild), mulato (mild), New Mexico/ristra (medium), cascabel (medium), chiltepin (very hot)
- 1 tablespoon coriander seed
- 1 tablespoon ground paprika
- 2 teaspoons whole cloves or allspice
Wearing protective gloves, break up the chilies into small pieces, and remove the seeds (or leave the seeds in for a hotter and slightly bitter flavor).
Toast the chilies, cumin, coriander, cloves, and allspice in a dry skillet over low heat, stirring continually until you can smell the peppers (about two minutes). Depending on the size of the skillet and the amount of peppers you may need to do more than one batch.
When the toasted ingredients are cool, pour them into a food-processor or blender along with the other ingredients, and grind it into a powder. Do not open the food processor lid until the powder settles.
Store in an airtight jar.
Chili Pepper in Healing
"Capsaicin is a safe and effective analgesic agent in the management of arthritis pain, herpes zoster-related pain, diabetic neuropathy, postmastectomy pain, and headaches."
"Capsaicin was shown, in laboratory settings, to cause cancer cell death in rats."