Home Made Chili Powder: The Conclusion

Well, Wednesday’s post showed the process of smoking and/or drying chilis at home, for eventual use in a special home made chili powder. Today I’ll show the other six ingredients that went into the final product, and give the recipe in case you want to try it yourself.

Another shout out to Jillian at Whisky Drinkin’ Chimney Sweep for putting the idea in my head in the first place.

When we finished up on Wednesday, we had three different varieties of chili powder, waiting to be mixed together. I like the photo of them so much that I’m going to post it again here:

The final products; clockwise from top right: chipotles, bird eye chilis, long red chilis

You may remember that I also smoked a clove of garlic, while I had the smoker on the go. Here that is, too:

It’s not as full-on in terms of colour as the last time I smoked garlic, but it was a lot easier to handle since I just left the head whole and put a slit in the edge of each clove, instead of peeling them all and trying to balance them on the smoker rack. The garlic is cooked through as well as smoked, and I used a very sharp knife to cut two cloves into thin slices, which I put on a tray lined with tinfoil and sprayed with oil. I dried these in an oven heated only to 50C, for about an hour and a half, until well dehydrated.


At the same time, I dried out some lime zest. You probably ge the idea of how – I finely grated it onto the same tinfoil lined sheet, and baked at 50C. It only took half an hour to go from your standard lime zest to a really vibrantly coloured and crumbly version of itself.

Those pictures aren’t really the best, but I think you can see the difference in colour, if not texture.

This was the end of the dehydrating – for now, at least. It’s oddly satisfying, I’ll definitely be looking out for an opportunity to do it again. We are up to five ingredients out of nine now – but what are the last four? Well, the first one is another kind of chili – I think they are cascabel chilis, though the packaging gives no indication and I’m basing that on some quick Googling. They are small, round chilis, and they rattle when you shake them because they’re absolutely crammed full of seeds – check this out:

All those seeds came from six of the chilis!

I de-seeded and ground these up to a powder, too. The next thing to go in the spice grinder was all the thyme that I’d put in the bottom of my roasting tin as I dried out my chipotles on the first day. The thyme was extremely dry and infused with Guinness, which I’d been spraying over the chilis to add flavour, and hopefully with some of the smoke and spice from the chilis themselves. I stripped all the leaves from the stems and powdered them. Finally, I used two ingredients straight from the jar – some ground sumac berries, for a fruity, slightly tobacco-ey flavour, and ground cumin, because I’ve often heard it said that a good chili must have cumin in it.

So, let’s recap those ingredients!

As you can see, I ground all the ingredients to a fine powder, except the sumac and cumin which already were ground. Then I scooped it all into a wee jar and shook it like a Polaroid picture until everything was mixed. I had a sniff – it was fragrant, but not in a floral way, in a much more powerful POW kind of way. I had a wee taste. As I remarked on my Facebook, it is hard to properly taste chili powder, but I felt like I could taste the garlic, lime and some kind of cumin-thyme herby combo alongside the smokiness, before the inevitable heat really took hold and I had to reach for a spoonful of yoghurt to calm the situation down.

I’m glad that I de-seeded most of the chilis. While I enjoy spicy food, the point of making my own chili powder was flavour over pure heat. I didn’t want to drown out the more subtle tastes, and I hope I’ve managed to maintain a good balance. I sent half of my chili powder to my Foodie Penpal – you can see what she thinks of it later in the month. For now, I’m trying to think of the perfect way to debut my home-made chili powder.

Any suggestions?

About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983. View all posts by Rock Salt

20 responses to “Home Made Chili Powder: The Conclusion

  • Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

    Wow! That was a serious undertaking! What a cool project! I bet your Foodie Penpal is thrilled.

    • Rock Salt

      Thanks Heather, it was a lot of fun! I’m looking forward to seeing what Hannah does with hers, and still trying to find the perfect use for my own batch πŸ™‚

  • ChgoJohn

    You put a lot of work into this but it seems to have paid off. I like that you went for flavor over heat this time.You can always add heat to a dish while cooking, if that’s your wish. The smokey flavor of each ingredient is what I’d be most interested in tasting. Thanks for documenting and sharing this process with us.

    • Rock Salt

      Thanks John, what a nice comment to leave! I think the same thing about the heat – it’s kind of dime-a-dozen, but flavour is something much more interesting.

  • whiskydrinkinchimneysweep

    Try this if you’d like: rub all over a pork shoulder/butt and refrigerate overnight. Next day place in your slow cooker with a healthy splash of tequila, half a bottle of mild beer, one halved lime, one small bunch fresh coriander, one halved tomato, one quartered onion and a not so healthy dose of kosher salt. Cook on low all day. Drain away liquid, reserve a bit of it, and discard all but the pork. Refrigerate overnight. The next day heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add some shredded pork and cook until a bit crispy. Serve as taco meat or sandwich. Also good as part of a breakfast burrito. I know this sounds like a lot of time to invest but the deliciousness will make it all worth it.

    • Rock Salt

      Ooh I’ve been meaning to try slow cooked pork – slow roasted, though, cos I don’t have a slow cooker. Tia on I Am Simply Tia has a good overnight oven version though – could do a nice mash up of her ideas and yours!

  • thekalechronicles

    This is a simple way to use chili powder. Peel and slice a jicama. Cut it into fingers. Squeeze the juice of a lime over it. Sprinkle with chili powder. Eat.

    • Rock Salt

      I’ve never heard of a jicama! Just looked it up, pretty sure we don’t get them here. But perhaps there is an alternative, I will do some research πŸ™‚

  • Just A Smidgen

    I’m just sitting here trying to imagine the flavors of something so fresh! It must be so much more intense than store bought. Lucky you.. You get to cook with it now!,

  • Averil

    Respect my dear Carol Anne… that’s what I have for you. Deep respect for making your own chilli powder and for the lovely combination of spices you’ve used. Perfect as a dry rub and then combined with some hung yoghurt and lemon or a tart orange… as a wet rub on your favourite meat of choice… and hit the grill πŸ˜‰ … frankly it would even be amazing sprinkled on some peaches, with a hint of honey… and then oven roasted or pan-grilled and served with a almond ice-cream.

  • Karen

    I’m very impressed. You will have some delicious meals from your hard work, I’m sure.

  • chefconnie

    You are fabulous. Just fabulous. I have never made my own chili powder, although I try to make nearly everything from scratch. You inspire me!

  • jessica

    Wow – this is brilliant! What a great kitchen project, and one that you can tweak to fit your preferences. I’m so glad you did this step-by-step tutorial! Thanks for the great idea!

  • Concordium

    I didn’t read through all of the comments, but I think this concoction would make a PERFECT rib rub. You can even use Guinness as a base for a mop sauce on top of it that should help round out any rough edges you noticed with the powder as well as acting as a means to impart some flavorful acidity instead of the more commonly used vinegar. I’ve never used Sumac and thus do not know what kind of flavor it imparts, nor how potent it is in your mix, but fruity notes go amazingly well with pork. Adding some brown sugar to the mix would help give it a dimension that accents the natural sweetness of pork while pairing it with the pungent smoke and the heat that creeps up from behind. I have an undying love for spice mixtures that display both sweet and hot tendencies. Sounds like you made one heck of a spice mixture. I look forward to seeing what kind of culinary creations are born from it. Well done!!

    • Rock Salt

      Hey, thanks for both your comments! They are very welcome. For the chili powder’s first outing, I’m thinking a pork shoulder and slow cooking – I like the idea of a Guinness sauce to go with it, or now I am wondering about Guinness bread… Sumac is a little spicy but more fruity, like dates or prunes kind of fruity, and a hint of lemony. It’s a nice addition to a lot of spicy food to give more depth. I actually considered putting brown sugar right into the chili powder but decided against it at the last minute; it might be a good addition to the next batch.

      As for Averil, well, the woman’s a genius. Her chili-peach dessert sounds amazing.

  • Concordium

    I know I’m not supposed to double post so I apologize…..but I just fell in love with Averil because of the following statement.

    “frankly it would even be amazing sprinkled on some peaches, with a hint of honey… and then oven roasted or pan-grilled and served with a almond ice-cream.”


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