indian chili powder.

When I started learning to cook, I also began to accumulate spices. Some of the common ones, like oregano or garlic powder, was easily found at the dollar store (and cheaper than the regular grocery store). And that was good enough for most everything. But then I started getting adventurous. I was intrigued by exotic recipes and their funny spices. I did not know what cardamom was, but I really wanted to make something with it. Somehow, seeing that it was ridiculously expensive at my local grocery store only made me want to buy it more. Actually, I don't think they carry it at all at Food Lion. I had to go to the fancy grocery stores like Whole Foods, where I was discouraged from buying by the exorbitant price.

Now I had no real need for cardamom, just a burning curiosity. But surely some people used this stuff a lot. Indian people! Where did they get their cardamom?

The answer is at the Indian grocery store. Duh. I also picked up a bag of sesame seeds, some garam masala, and whole nutmeg. They came in bulk, and the big bags were still cheaper than the dinky little bottles offered at the fancy grocery store. I also bought a bag of chili powder. While chili powder is technically a dollar store spice, it comes in such large quanitities at the Indian grocery store that it's cheaper to get it there.

This is all great, of course, but there is a cautionary tale, specifically about Indian store chili powder. You know how Indian food can be pretty spicy sometimes? It is possibly because of their chili powder. Holy crap, that stuff does not mess around. Since buying it, I've made several dishes that I'd made a billion times before, and suddenly they were so spicy I couldn't even eat them. I made enchiladas, and no matter how much sour cream I loaded them up with, I had to stop after a couple of bites because my inner ears were in pain. Josh could only eat one, and he is much more heat-tolerant than I am.

It took me more times than it should have, but I wised up and starting cutting the chili powder amounts in half. It's still sufficiently kicky, but at least I can eat it now. Of course, I have a giant bag of this stuff, and I'm only using half as much as I would ordinarily, so it's pretty much going to last for forever.

This has nothing to do with anything I said above, but I just wanted to share a recipe with you. I've been making it a lot lately, and it's a nice sort of homemade hamburger helper - yummier and healthier hamburger helper. A one-pot meal, easy to throw together on a weeknight, delicious. It does have chili powder in it, and my only note is that if you are working with Indian store chili powder, use only 1/2 T. Trust me.

Skillet Chili Mac
Ripped straight from Alosha's Kitchen


1 lb lean ground beef
Salt and pepper
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
4 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 cups (8 ounces) elbow macaroni, dry

Optional toppings: shredded cheese, green onions, crushed tortilla chips, hot sauce

  1. Season the ground beef with salt and pepper. Add the beef, onion, and garlic to a very large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking the meat into chunks, until no longer pink. Drain, then return the mixture to the skillet.
  2. Add petite diced tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, beef broth and spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then add macaroni. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for 5-7 minutes or until noodles are just barely al dente (do not overcook), stirring once to make sure nothing is sticking. Remove cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for another 5 minutes to thicken before serving.

No comments: