One of the easiest ways to bring a dish to life is adding a dash or two of chili powder. This tasty blend of spices is used extensively in India for the preparation of curry dishes, as well as being a favorite in Mexico and South America. While many people use the powder in recipes, not everyone knows just what goes into the combination.
Chili powder begins with the use of ground chilies. For the most part, the chilies used for the mixture are red or cayenne peppers. However, there are some combinations that choose to use paprika or green ground chiles instead. A typical blend will also include garlic, oregano, and cumin. As is true with the chilies used, the other three ingredients are ground into a fine powder. Whatever the choice in chiles, they should be dried thoroughly before being ground into a powder.
Beyond this basic recipe, an assortment of other spices may be added as well, such as black pepper, cloves, mace, nutmeg, coriander and cinnamon. The final combination of spices really has more to do with personal taste. One reason so many people choose to prepare their own chili powder is because commercial brands tend to use only the more common and less expensive spices in the mixture. Of course, it is easy to use a pre-packaged blend containing the basic ingredients and add in any of the other spices desired.
When it comes to using chili powder in preparing meals, there are many different applications. As an additive in curries, it has a long standing reputation in India and more recently in England. Like many blends of spices, it can be used as a rub for steak, fish and chicken before broiling, baking, or grilling. The spice blend can also be used in making a spicy hamburger, by including a tablespoon (8 grams) of the powder in the raw meat and kneading it into the meat before forming the hamburger patties.
One of the most common uses for chili powder in the United States is the preparation of chili. As a hearty dish that often includes a basic content of cooked hamburger or steak, red kidney beans and tomatoes, the spice is often the medium that adds that extra kick to the taste. Since this spice is at its best when allowed to simmer and mingle with the other ingredients within the recipe, using a slow cooker to prepare the chili is an ideal method. The end result is a flavorful chili that has a consistently pleasing taste from the first bowl to the last.
As an easy spice selection to purchase ready-made or to prepare at home, chili powder can add a lot of taste to many different types of foods. From an ingredient is a simmering pot to a tasty coating on grilled meats, it comes through every time.