Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Toasting Chili Powder

We know that roasting veggies intensifies their flavors, mellows bitterness, and carmelizes the sugars. This is especially true for hot peppers. But what if you're not using whole peppers? What if all you have on hand for a recipe are dried, commercial chili powders?

Well, you can get much of the benefit of roasting by a quick toast in a dry, hot pan. What I've got going here, which I'll add to a pot of beans, is a mixture of ancho and cascabel powders. Even a commercial chili con carne chili mix is improved by a quick toast in a pan.

Just start with a heavy, dry pan. When the pan is hot, add the chili powders and stir. Keep the chilis moving so they don't burn. They're ready when they've darkened nicely.

That's it!


  1. I often do this with spices...cumin is especially good. If you have to use dry spices, especially those that might have been in your pantry a bit too long, dry toasting is a way to bring back some of the flavor.
    The beans sound good, especially with the chili powders!.
    I especially like ancho, but have never heard of cascabel.

  2. Hey there! For some reason, I never thought about doing this with other spices. And cumin is my favorite spice. I use it in everything. I'd probably buy cumin ice cream if I came across it in the store. :)

    Cascabel chilis are sometimes also called chili bola. They're round, smallish, and dark red. To me they kind of taste like a slightly warm paprika. I like them, because although I love the flavor of various chilis. I don't like crazy-hot foods.

  3. had never heard of this will try it bet its great