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Toasted Chili Powder

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This home-made chili powder's deep and sweet aroma comes from toasting dried chilis and then grinding them to release their potent flavor.  Used as a common Thai table spice, it's a great topper to just about any dish for folks who like a little bit of heat in their food.  It can be used as ubiquitously as hot sauce, but it's way better because instead of the overwhelming flavor of vinegar based hot sauces, you get nice building heat from this powder with a big old background of smokey toasted goodness.  If you like conventional crushed red chilis - you've got to try this.

I don't think I'd post this simple recipe if not for this life changing tip on how to keep from gassing yourself with pepper fumes during the toasting process - use copious amounts of kosher salt when toasting the chilis in a cast iron skillet to keep the chilis from smoking, fuming, and causing you to evacuate the kitchen like it was just attacked with mustard gas in WWI.  Thanks for the tip Kasma from Thai Food and Travel.

Recipe
  • Arbol dry chilis.
  • Kosher salt
Pour chilis out of bag and remove stems by plucking them off by hand.

Heat a cast iron pan over high heat until hot.  Turn down the burner to medium and pour in enough kosher salt to cover the bottom of the pan. 

Toss in the chilis and toast while moving them around around the pan vigorously so that they don't burn.

As the chilis turn from red to dark brown (not black) remove them from the pan and set them aside to cool.  Some chilis will toast faster than others - pluck them from the pan one by one.

Use a small Cuisinart or coffee grinder to powder the chilis in small batches.  The chili powder should keep for a long time in a sealed jar and can be used to heat do pastas, stir frys, curries, rice dishes, vegetables - anything really!

wazzup1051 year ago
Hmm.. interesting tip. I usually dry/roast mine in the oven, but It's hard to get it right. Either they're not ready or they're overdone.

And I imagine I could keep the salt and make chili-salt.
noahw (author)  wazzup1051 year ago
The stove top is nice because you can individually track their cooking progress. Chili salt - I like it!
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