Cooking with Chili Powder
Chili peppers have been around a long time — archaeological finds dating 5000 to 7000 BC in Mesoamerica turned up chili peppers. Chili peppers (of the genus Capsicum and no relation to peppercorns) became popular in Europe almost immediately after Columbus brought seeds back to Spain and chili peppers are popular today all over the world. And there has been a recent surge in chili pepper popularity in the United States fueled by immigrants from places like Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America where chili peppers are a foundational ingredient in cooking.
Chili powder is sometimes thought to be simply ground chili peppers, but it is more. Chili powder is a blend of ground chili peppers and other ground spices, such as cumin, oregano and garlic. We sell both chili powder and ground chili peppers and try to make the distinction by calling them Chili Powder Blends them and Chili Pepper Powders. The other spices we blend into our chili powders gives them their own personalities. They are fairly mild in terms of heat — about the intensity of the tame ancho pepper, except for the Extra Spicy blend which kicks the heat up a notch.
How to Use
Frontier Co-op Bulk Organic Chili Powder Blend combines ground chili peppers with cumin, garlic, oregano and other spices to create lively and authentic chili powder flavor blends for Mexican, Tex-Mex and Indian dishes — as well for adding pizzazz to your everyday fare. You can use these zesty blends to pep up chili, rice, tofu, meat and bean dishes. And feel free to experiment — someone had to be the first to try sprinkling chili powder on mixed nuts. (It’s delicious.) All of our chili powders have pungent, robust flavor to enhance chili and other hearty dishes. A base of ground dried chili peppers is combined with a number of strong, warm spices to create balanced, full-flavored blends.
People sometimes expect chili powder to be hot because they associate it with the dish chili — a stew that is often praised for spicy hotness. Chili powder does have a slightly spicy and pungent flavor, but it’s not the searing experience aficionados of red hot chili are seeking. That heat comes from other ingredients such as hot varieties of Capsicums such as habanero, bird’s eye and cayenne. In fact, one of the beauties of a chili is that it can be a flavorful and filling dish that is tweaked to the heat tolerances of the people making and eating it. Whether your chili is con carne, vegan, or any other variation, you can heat it up or tone it down with the other ingredients, especially peppers, that you include in addition to the chili powder. If there’s a range of preferences for spiciness, a shaker of cayenne on the table or next to the chili pot will allow for individual adjustments.