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 (when it may be known as chili powder blend). It is used as a spice to add pungency or piquancy and flavor to dishes.
Chili powder is sometimes known by the specific type of chili pepper used (such as cayenne pepper). It is used in many different cuisines, including Tex-Mex, Indian, Chinese, Korean and Thai.
Chili powder blend is composed chiefly of chili peppers and blended with other spices including cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and salt. The chilis are most commonly either red chili peppers or cayenne peppers, which are both of the species Capsicum annuum; many types of hot pepper may be used, including ancho, jalapeño, New Mexico, and pasilla chilis. As a result of the various potential additives, the spiciness of any given chili powder is variable.
Chili peppers are available year around in the markets either in the fresh, dried or powdered form. In the store, buy fresh chili peppers instead of powder since, oftentimes it may contain adulterated spicy mixtures.
Look for raw, fresh chilies featuring brilliant color (green, yellow, orange, red depending on the variety), with healthy stalk, wholesome and compact. Avoid those with spots or those spoiled tips and inflicted by molds.Once at home, should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag where they will stay fresh for about a week. Completely dried red chilies are also available in the markets. Dry chilies can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dark place, inside airtight containers for many months; and can be milled to powder using mixer/grinder as and when required. If you want to buy dry chili powder instead, go for the authentic and branded products. Powdered chili pepper should be stored in cool place in airtight containers.
Chili peppers contain chemical compound capsaicin. Capsaicin and its co-compounds used in the preparation of ointments, rubs and tinctures for their astringent, counter-irritant and analgesic properties.
These formulations have been in use in the treatment of arthritic pain, post-herpetic neuropathic pain, sore muscles, etc.
Scientific studies on experimental mammals suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. It also found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in obese persons.
Chili peppers have amazingly high levels of vitamins and minerals. Just 100 g provides (in % of recommended daily allowance): 240% of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid), 39% of vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxine), 32% of vitamin A, 13% of iron, 14% of copper, 7% of potassium, but no cholesterol.
Chili pepper contains an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
Chilies contain health benefiting an alkaloid compound in them, capsaicin, which gives strong spicy pungent character. Early laboratory studies on experimental mammals suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. It also found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals.
Fresh chili peppers, red and green, are rich source of vitamin-C. 100 g fresh chilies provide about 143.7 µg or about 240% of RDA. Vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant. It is required for the collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body protect from scurvy; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
They are also good in other antioxidants like vitamin A, and flavonoids like ß-carotene, a-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin, and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidant substances in capsicum help to protect the body from injurious effects of free radicals generated during stress, diseases conditions.
Chilies contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.Chilies are also good in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.
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