Easy Chili Powder

Do you buy chili powder? STOP!! You can make it very easily and just wait until you see the cost:
2-3 dried chipotles
2-3 dried red chillies (dried cayennes will work too)
1/4 cup whole cumin
10 black peppercorns
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Heat your smallest skillet over medium high heat. Add the cumin and peppercorns. Roast, stirring frequently, until the aroma hits your nose or you see one wisp of smoke (usually takes 3-4 minutes with a nice hot pan). Remove from heat; pour into a shallow bowl and allow to cool.
Using a coffee grinder, grind the dried chipotles until chunks are nearly powdered. Some whole seeds will remain. Add and grind the chillies. Add the cumin, peppercorns, and salt; grind all ingredients until powdered. This mixture will remain fresh for 6 months sealed in a dark, cool place.

This is my recipe built by trial and error. It only takes 10 minutes! Don’t increase the salt because it can oversalt the final dish if you use more powder to adjust the heat level of the dish. Salt is added to this recipe to adsorb oils and absorb moisture. This recipe is smoky with balanced heat (not my usual eyebrow-scorching heat level). Use only two of each pepper if you prefer mild.

By buying ingredients at a local ethnic grocery, this recipe costs 7 cents/ounce plus energy to heat the skillet. The cheapest powder at my grocery is 49 cents/ounce. That’s SEVEN times more! In addition, this stuff is so much more delicious that you will wonder why you didn’t switch sooner! Make double batches and use it for chili, fajitas, salsa, and cornbread. A coarser grind makes a great grill rub for flank steak or spareribs.

As for cleaning the coffee grinder, I use this method for lots of seasonings, so I have a dedicated grinder. If you don’t, just wash the lid thoroughly, then buzz the grinder with some baking soda and/or stale coffee.

Do NOT use a nonstick skillet for this, as it can produce toxic fumes.

Cost: $0.56
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

Taste: [rate 5]
Ease: [rate 5]

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