Fresh chillies are great, but in the UK the season for fresh chillies is all too short. Consequently we have to find ways to preserve chillies to tide us over the long months of deprivation. Fortunately, chillies are quite versatile in this respect, but the most convenient method of preservation is as chilli powder.
Thin fleshed chillies are the most suitable as they dry more easily. First cut the top off each chilli to remove the stalk, then dry the chillies thoroughly. This should be done slowly, at a low temperature of about 30 to 35°C, to preserve the colour and flavour. A domestic dehydrator is ideal for this. Such a device can be bought quite cheaply from Amazon.
Ideally the dry chillies should have the seeds and core removed before they are ground, as these can detract from the colour and texture of the finished product. The dried chillies are then ground in a coffee grinder to produce a fine powder.
Chilli powders should be stored in small air tight glass jars in a cool dark place.
Chilli powder can be used as a general condiment in the same way as one would use salt and pepper. Sprinkle it on potato chips, cold meats, fried mushrooms, savoury pastries, and anything that needs a bit of a lift. Milder powders are the most versatile as they add flavour without overwhelming the original taste of the food, but stongly flavoured foods can take hotter powders.
Fried dishes are particularly suitable for incorporating hot chilli powders as capsaicin is soluble in fats and oils, and so gets distributed evenly throughout the food.
© 2016 The Chilli Guru™