Freshly ground chiles and spices like coriander, oregano and cinnamon make up this home ground chili powder.
I’ll never cease to be amazed at how much money people spend on “gourmet” chili powders. They often come in some kind of kitschy packaging (like a mini burlap sack or a cowboy hat), with promises such as “authentic!” or “the worlds best!” emblazoned all over them. Aside from being obscenely expensive they’ve also probably been sitting on the shelf for months. Inside, there’s usually a tiny plastic bag of spices that are long past their prime, and if you’re lucky, you might find a folded up piece of paper with a few mediocre chili recipes scrawled on it.
Once spices have been ground the flavours quickly sublimate out, so it’s highly unlikely that a packaged chili powder is going to be the “world’s best”, and is it even possible for a Tex-Mex spice mix to be “authentic”? Meanwhile you’ve given another eight bucks of your hard earned cash to some guy in Yonkers who’s probably never even been to Texas or Mexico.
This is why I tend to grind my own spice blends at home, in small batches (like this Chinese five spice powder I made a few months ago). It’s cheap, it’s simple, and the results will be 10x more potent than any pre-ground mix you’ll pick up in a store. Best of all, you can adjust the mixture to your liking, making it more deserving of the title “world’s best chili powder”.
5 dried Guajillo chilies
2 dried Chipotle chiles
4 Arbol chiles (or other thin red spicy chiles)
1 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs coriander seed
1 Tbs cumin seed
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black peppercorns
Use a damp paper towel to wipe the surface of each dried chili clean. Place on a baking sheet and toast in a 200 degree oven until the chilies are completely dry (crisp), and fragrant.
Toast the coriander seed, cumin seed and cinnamon stick until fragrant, but be careful not to burn them.
Remove the seeds from the Guajillo and Chipotle chiles, then add them along with everything else to a blender, or spice grinder. Blitz until the spice mixture is a fine powder then pass it through a sieve to remove any remaining chunks.
Store in an air tight container until ready to use.