Chili Powder is like your favorite mutt dog. A bit of this and that, this spice blend may not be a pure-bred, but it will win you over with what it can do to just make you smile.
Chili powder isn’t really pure ground chiles. It’s more of a spice blend.
One, or more, varieties of chiles are blended with cumin, and other spices, into a powder. It ranges from brick red, to dark brown, in color.
Warning to true fans of chiles. This is the toe-dippingly timid American blend. If Wonderbread is your kind of spicy, or you need a base for your first Texas chili, this is your blend!
In North America, chili powder is kind of the “training wheels” chile pepper blend, with a very low Scoville unit heat of about 500-1,000 SHU. It is blended to be as flavorful, and inoffensive, as possible. It has enough cumin, and often onion, and garlic powder, that it can give a pretty generic experience of a chili, or with added spices, a few indian curries, are roughly like.
Chili powder blends are used all over the world, made from different blends of regional chiles, herbs, and spices. This blander blend is popular in North America.
I still contend that, at one point, or another, a Punjabi Indian cook picked up a job as a trail cook for a bunch of ranch hands. Short a few ingredients, and using the beans readily available, they settled on retaining the cumin in making a tomato-based curry without the fragrants, like too-exotic ginger.
It certainly can’t be the line of bull about Mexican women in Texas creating it, that seems to pervade American chili mythology. Mexicans detest the stuff. Most of the brown goo that you find in Mexican-American restaurants passing for a chili is kind of backward-engineered from Texas chili, and the starch from pinto beans.
I seldom ‘weigh in’ on the value of a spice blend. There are some spice blends that are so ridiculously easy to make, that, with limited shelf space in your kitchen, might be best left to doing yourself. You have more control.
That being said, if you make a pot of chili once a year, never make anything spicy, and/or black pepper is your big day for spicy, then it’s totally your go-to in your spice aromata.
Get top quality from our friends at SpiceJungle.