Chili powder (also powdered chili, chile powder or chilli powder) is the dried, pulverized fruit of one or more varieties of chili pepper, sometimes with the addition of other spices (also sometimes known as chili powder blend). It is used as a spice to add pungency or piquancy and flavor to dishes. In American English, the name is usually spelled "chili". In British English the spelling "chilli" (with two "l"s) is used consistently.
Chili powder is used in many different cuisines, including American cuisine, particularly in Tex-Mex, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Mexican, Portuguese, and Thai. Chili powder blends are the primary flavor ingredient in chili con carne.
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Chili powder is sometimes known by the specific type of chili pepper used. Varieties of chili peppers used to make chili powder include Aleppo, ancho, cayenne, chipotle, chile de árbol, Cheongyang, jalapeño, New Mexico, pasilla, and piri piri chili peppers.
Gochugaru (고춧가루; gochutgaru or gochu-garu), which literally translates as "chili powder", is chili powder or flakes used in Korean cuisine. Traditionally made from sun-dried chili peppers known as taeyang-cho, gochugaru has a complex flavor profile with spicy, sweet, and slightly smoky tastes, and heat level may vary from mild to very hot in varieties made from Cheongyang chili peppers.
Chili powder blends are composed chiefly of chili peppers and blended with other spices including cumin, onion, garlic powder, and sometimes salt. The chilis are most commonly either red chili peppers or cayenne peppers, which are both of the species Capsicum annuum. As a result of the various potential additives, the spiciness of any given chili powder is variable.
The first commercial blends of chili powder in the U.S. were created by D.C. Pendery and William Gebhardt for this dish. Gebhardt opened Miller's Saloon in New Braunfels, Texas. Chili was the town's favorite dish. However, chili peppers could only be found at certain times of the year. Gebhardt imported some ancho peppers from Mexico and ran the peppers through a small meat grinder three times and created the first commercial chili powder, which became available in 1894.