Which types of chili powder do you use

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by wade, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Some of us have been caught out when following American recipes to the letter and adding the required 2 tablespoons of chili powder - only to end up with something that resembles a small nuclear explosion going off in your moth with the first bite. When this has happened you quickly realise that, in general, the chili powder used in American cooking is a lot milder than the chili powders that we can usually buy over here in the UK. It was not until I took a short course at the Santa Fe school of cooking that I got to know the difference. In the US the chili is there for flavour as much as, if not more than, the heat. The range of chili powders (and fresh chilies) that are available over there is incredible. To the uninitiated it is like after drinking Teachers whiskey all your life, then being introduced to the finest single malt Islay whisky.

    Since that time I have stopped using the "generic" chili powders in my rubs and recipes and have switched to using a mix of specific chili types. I now stock and pretty much only use the following:
    • New Mexico Chili - This is mild and very versatile. It is what gives the South West US dishes their distinctive flavour
    • Ancho Chili - (I use this the most) It is mild and a little sweet, almost fruity and it has a deep smokey flavour. It will not overpower with heat any food it is used in.
    • Chipotle - Robust smoke and heat. I use this in moderation to add the heat into my rubs and dishes
    All are readily available online here in the UK.

    What do others use - both here in the UK and also in the USA?
  2. I have a big jar of generic chilli flakes from a local Asian supermarket that I use for heat, I also have an assortment of dried and smoked chillies I got online to add a bit of flavour. I often put sliced jalapenos out with food so people can add their own. Over the years I have found I don't go for insanely hot stuff like I used too, I like to be able to taste the flavours as well.

    I like chipotles the best but I'll hunt out the other two you mention.
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    When most recipes call for "chili powder" they're referring to a mixture of spices that's used to season chili. It's not usually terribly hot, and unfortunately, not usually very good when bought off the shelf.
    Its also not interchangeable with ground chiles.
    It's a pretty quick and simple process to make your own chili powder. You should be able to get most of the ingredients in the UK and the difference in flavor between store bought and home made is incredible.
    Here is Alton Brown's recipe. It's a good place to start.
    3 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
    3 cascabel chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
    3 dried arbol chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced
    2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    Place all of the chiles and the cumin into a medium nonstick saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, moving the pan around constantly, until you begin to smell the cumin toasting, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside and cool completely.

    Once cool, place the chiles and cumin into the carafe of a blender along with the garlic powder, oregano, and paprika. Process until a fine powder is formed. Allow the powder to settle for at least a minute before removing the lid of the carafe. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
  4. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yep, "chili powder" here is not the same as ground chiles, though they are part of that mix, usually along with cumin and oregano, and probably some cheap fillers.

    I've been fortunate to have known many pepper growers and sellers over the years, and I have a stockpile of various dried and powdered peppers, some smoked with various woods. They can heat up a batch of chili, but as Wade says, if you're burning on the first bite you're in trouble. I like to have the heat reach the top of my comfort level at the end of the bowl.

    BTW here's something to try, and old seasoning of mine I call C Salt: combine equal amounts of ground cayenne (or a similar red pepper) ground cumin, and salt.
  5. Hello Folks.  Chili powder here is pretty much just ground cayenne pepper.  In the U.S. chili powder is a blend of peppers and spices.  Peppers, garlic, cumin and such.  Osprey2 can tell you the difference.  I sent him a bottle of the U.S. stuff.  I have a Brand I use available in Texas.  Gebhardts.  I "smuggle" it back every time I go to Texas.  Never made my own as I like that brand and found no need to.  Keep Smokin!

  6. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    I have always used a bog standard chilli powder from the supermarket.  To be honest, until now I have never really given it much thought.

    There is a chap in the next village who makes his own range of Chilli dips & sauces, I might have to go and look him up.

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