Chilli powder is ubiquitously available in Indian groceries, so little thought is given to grinding your own. But the benefit of making our own chilli powder is that we know that it is unadulterated.
Chilli powder is used in many parts of the world, from South America and Mexico, to Italy, through Spain into Hungary and Eastern Europe, across the Middle East, through India into China and Korea and across the ocean into Thailand, Vietnam and the rest of South East Asia. Chilli powder can be made with whichever chillies are your favourites.
When we speak of Chilli Powder, we mean powdered chillies without any additions – herbs, seeds, spices or nuts. If your preference is to include these, follow this basic recipe and grind your additions with the chillies.
How to Make Chilli Powder
Use your favourite chilli for this powder, or mix several types of chilli for greater complexity of flavour.
Take whole dried chillies, and remove the stem and cap. Wash your hands well.
Heat the oven to 140C maximum. Place the chillies in the oven on a baking sheet or a baking paper lined tray and roast them for 4 hours. Turn the oven off but don’t remove the chillies. Leave them in the oven for 6 – 12 hours. They will be dry and crunchy.
Transfer them to a grinder or blender. Be very careful in this step, as the chilli powder can be irritating to your nasal passages. Blend or grind the peppers to flakes or a fine powder, depending on your preference, and DO NOT REMOVE THE COVER. Allow the powder to settle for 5 – 10 mins before proceeding.
If you wish, sieve the powder to remove seeds.
Place the powder in an airtight container and keep in a cool dark place.
250g dried chillies will make approx 3/4 cup chilli powder.
Fresh chillies can be dried in a low oven, in a dehydrator, in the sun for several days (bring in at night), or by tying together in a chain and hanging in a sunny window.