Make your own chili powder

23 11 2010

A number of years ago I found myself getting increasingly fed up with shop bought chili powder.

Unless you go to a specialist shop it is just not a particularly good product; some chili powders have no heat what so ever even if they are labelled as being hot, some have no flavour to them at all and many of them are adulterated with colourants and additives which are just unneccessary.

So I started making my own, now I am able to have different blends or mixes made up ready for certain recipes and have complete control over what goes into my chili powders, their flavours and levels of heat.

You can also make rubs and seasoning blends in advance by mixing in the required herbs and seeds.

Because I tend to get through quite a lot of chili powder I make fairly large batches at any one point but you can make as much or as little as you wish.

You will need to ensure that you are using dried chilies or if not you are going to end up with a paste as opposed to a powder.

If you aren’t able to find the variety of chili that you want in a dried form you can but them fresh and dry them yourself, or even better grow your own chilies.

In order to dry your chilies you will need to remove the stems and the seeds from the chili and flatten out the pieces.

Place these onto a dry baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 5 or 6 minutes before checking them. Smaller less fleshy pieces will dry out quicker and can be removed before returning the larger pieces to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

Once all of the pieces of chili are nice and crisp break them into  smaller section and pop them in a blender or better yet a spice grinder, pulse the chilies for afew seconds until you are left with a powder.

Hopefully you will notice that the colour of your chili powder is far deeper and that the aroma and flavour are far stronger and less artificial.

Store your chili powder  out of direct sunlight in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.

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Hot Smoked Chipotle Oil…More like fail sauce

14 07 2010

Anyone that has read any of my recipes or listened to me wax lyrical about various different hot sauces etc will know that I have a little bit of an obsession with chillies  and all things hot and spicy.

As such you can imagine my interest when I saw bottles of Hot Smoked Chipotle Oil on special offer at the local supermarket (a Lidl for anyone that cares!)

I’m not normally an impulse buyer but in this case it had two very strong selling points

a. it was a chilli oil

 b. it was cheap (€1.49 to be exact)

So I picked up a bottle and said to my girlfriend that if I liked the oil I would be back for more (you can never have too much chilli oil after all)

Well it was vile.

I’m not over reacting when I say that it just simply was one of the worst things I have ever tasted.

For starters there was no heat at all, we are talking a big fat 0 on the scoville scale – not a good start for a chilli oil. To test the fact that there was no kick to the oil I called my girlfriend into the kitchen and insisted that she try some of the oil on  a little bit of bread.

Now my partner can’t handle any heat at all in foods and is somewhat wary of things that I get her to taste (it has something to do with some Naga chillies that she didn’t appreciate) but even she remarked that there was no heat at all and this is from a woman who finds black pepper to be practically atomic!

Next there was the actual taste of the oil; not only was there no heat there was no taste of chillies. I know some people who don’t like chillies will tell you that none of them have any taste, well they do, especially something like a chipotle which should have a nice fruity smokey taste to it.

The only taste that this oil had was a vague burnt taste, certainly not smokey more like the taste you get in the back of your throat when someone is burning something they shouldn’t like plastic bags or tyres…not what you want to put on your food.

I think possibly the worst thing about it though was the sheer greasiness of it, I realise it sounds nuts describing an oil as being oily or greasy but it was! The oil they had used was sunflower oil and it just felt really really greasy.

I make chilli oils myself as they are something that I like to use to give a bit of oomph or sneak in some illicit chilli flavour  but I always use a good olive oil for mine and I can really see why now.

Luckily though Lidl did manage to redeem themselves by having the Nando’s Piri Piri sauce in stock at roughly the same price…





Big Tom’s Secret Hot Sauce

10 04 2010

I realized yesterday that something terrible had happened…I had run out of hot sauce. This might sounds like a rather minor inconvenience to most people but unfortunately for me I am a chili addict.

I simply can’t get enough of that sweet, intoxicating chili heat and the store-bought sauces just don’t cut the mustard anymore, they tend to be too sweet, with an unnatural taste and certainly they are lacking that much-needed kick of heat.

There are some amazingly good hot sauces out there such as NagaSoreAss by CA Johns or a recent discovery Louisiana Gold Wasabi Hot Sauce but these aren’t the sort of hot sauces you would want to use everyday.

So of course I make my own.

My hot sauce of choice is loosely based on a Trinidadian hot sauce that I tried a few years back but I have played around with it until it has a little more heat but still keeps a great flavour.

So here it is for the first time ever

Big Tom’s Secret Hot Sauce:

15 Habanero or Scotch bonnet chilis

15 Chipotle chilis

15 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

15 spring onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large carrot, coarsely chopped

1 cup pure fresh orange juice

3/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1/2 cup yellow mustard hot English mustard – I use Colemans but any strong mustard would work

1/2 tick of celery, roughly chopped

2 large handfuls of chopped coriander leaves

2 tablespoons thyme

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 bay leaves

tablespoon of crushed black pepper

Salt
Cut the stems off of the chilis and discard, you will however want to keep all of the seeds in the chili as if not you will lose a lot of the heat

In a blender or food processor, pulse the chilis with the garlic, spring onions, celery and carrot until finely chopped.

Now add the black pepper, vinegar, orange juice, mustard, coriander, thyme, crushed bay leaves and  lime juice and pulse just until combined.

Season with salt.

Once the sauce has been made you will need to transfer it into jars or bottles in order for it to keep. The vinegar acts as a preservative for the sauce and I have kept this in the fridge for up to a year without sterilising the jars.








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