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I am planning on making some chili powder this weekend using ancho, pasilla, and guajillo peppers. This is a follow-up to the question about storage-lifetime that is to do with the powder itself.

The other concern I have is to do with what is flexible in a chili powder, and what tweaks I can/should make; I've never made a spice blend before, and would appreciate some specific tips. I am weighing the different variables of how to prepare the chili powder itself (i.e. I was a bit disappointed to see more than one "recipe" with one step: "blend"). How does preparation work for powders?

  • If I want to toast the ground spices, what impact will this have if I do so before storage? Should toasting be done dry (i.e. no oil), or are there different methods (i.e. to how they are roasted) one can use?
  • If I use fresh roasted peppers (i.e. if I go to the store and buy some fresh habaneros, and roast them in the oven, or if I want to use fresh roasted garlic), how do I incorporate them? More fundamentally, how do I incorporate "wet" ingredients into the powder? (I do not have any dehydrating appliances beyond oven/range.)
  • Does salt serve any function in chili powder (beyond flavor and filler), especially if I plan to salt anything as necessary?
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1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

First, as someone who has made chili powder, let me offer you one piece of advice -- get yourself a coffee or spice grinder.

Second, disabuse yourself of any notion of making your chili powder with anything wet. Whatever goes in should be bone dry. I wouldn't even bother with drying fresh peppers, garlic, etc. It's just not worth the effort. However, you absolutely should get your cumin in (dried) seed form, and dry toast it yourself. That IS worth the effort.

Beyond that, everything else is negotiable. Mess around with different types of peppers, different herbs/spices, different proportions, etc., and see what you like best.

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