I'm so into spice mixes right now. A few trusty blends can make cooking immensely easier. There's something about finding spices and measuring them out that takes so much time!
Here's my recipe for chili powder. In the past, we've always used Grandma's brand, but it's no longer available. It only seemed natural to start making my own, and the result was incredibly easy, tasty, and cheap. In fact, it was embarrassingly so.
Chili powder is mainly...well, chile powder--that is, dried chiles that have been ground into a powder. Most blends you buy include a few other things, usually powdered garlic, paprika, cumin, and cayenne. My recipe is not unique in this regard. The one thing I do leave out is salt. I think it's best to add salt depending on the dish. I also think it's best to keep the blend fairly generic in flavor so that you can use it in different ways.
That said, your own generic blend should be a reflection of who you are. Maybe it doesn't have to be that deep, but since you're making it yourself, you have full control of the chiles you use so pick ones that match your palette. I have kids and if I make my chili powder too hot, they won't eat dinner so I go for flavor over heat. I find New Mexico chile powder to be a great base. It's mild and flavorful. Anchos are also mild. For heat, I add Cayenne or Korean red pepper powder. Chipotles are hot and have a unique flavor, and for this reason I don't use them in my generic chili powder blend but add it when making Mexican food.
You can take a fresh chile, dry it, de-seed and de-stem it, and then pulverize it in a blender to make your own chile powder. Or you can take dried chiles, remove the seeds and stem, and give it a blend. I prefer going straight for the powder because fiddling with chiles does not sound fun to me. You can usually find a variety of chile powders in the Mexican section of your grocery store.
- 1/2 cup mild New Mexico red chile powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp (or more) cayenne pepper
Combine spices. Blend well. Use immediately or store in an airtight container.