Monday, June 1, 2015

Homemade Chili Powder

Chili Powder From Scratch,  Dried Chiles

This recipe is one more reason I love dried chiles. Yes, you can re-hydrate them and then puree them into chili or enchilada sauce, but you can also make your own chili powder. 

I'm not sure about you, but I go through a ton of chili powder. Before making my own, I used to always buy the biggest container of it that I could find. I most often reach for it when I make tacos, but it ends up in so many of my other recipes as well. I even like to sprinkle it over popcorn.

Homemade Chili Powder Prep
Homemade Chili Powder Prep

So why wouldn't you want to make your own chili powder if you use it so much? Especially when it's easy to make and far superior in taste to what you can find in the grocery store. You'll never want to go back to the flat flavor of the jarred variety after sampling what you can easily make in fifteen minutes. It's smoky, spicy and much brighter than what you are probably used to having.

Kristin's Chili Powder, From Scratch, From Dried Chiles
What I really like about making my own chili powder is the customization factor. After some experimentation, you'll be able to create your own unique blend based on what you like. Below is my basic mix, but I'm excited to experiment --  especially after a little ingredient inspiration -- with more exotic blends in the future.

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Homemade Chili Powder
Adapted from Alton Brown

Careful of the fumes when preparing this recipe. Be sure to let the powder settle for at least a minute after blending before you remove the cap. It can be pretty potent, and you don't want to inhale it or you'll feel the burn! 

Yield: about 3/4 of a cup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

3 ancho chiles
3 guajillo chiles
3 dried arbol chiles
1 dried chipotle chile
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Stem and seed all the chiles. [You can wear gloves while you handle the chiles if you're worried about their oils.] Place them in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Flip the chiles at least once, after about 2-3 minutes; they should be slightly blistered. Remove after another couple of minutes and place directly into spice grinder or blender to cool. 

Turn the heat down to medium-low and then add the cumin seeds. Keep shaking the skillet so that the cumin seeds are constantly moving. After 3-4 minutes you should be able to smell the cumin toasting and the seeds will be a few shades darker than when you started. Just be careful not to let them burn. Remove from heat and transfer the seeds into the spice grinder/blender.

Add the remaining spices and blend until a fine powder has formed. Wait for everything to settle, at least full a minute, before opening. Transfer chili powder to an airtight container. 

Use within 6 months.

Notes:
-Here is a guide to variations of dried chiles in case you can't find the ones I used and need to find a good substitute.
-Choose dried chiles that are still pliable and glossy. 
-Store dried chiles in an airtight container -- it should help them keep for a very long time.

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