Ancho chile powder is the ground form of the ancho chile. Anchos are a super versatile ingredient made from the fresh poblano chile. Confused? Don’t be!
Fresh poblano chiles are the somewhat large, deep green, and smooth chiles you see at the grocery store all the time. They have a mild heat and a deep vegetal and somewhat meaty flavor.
When they are dried, they are called ancho chiles. The process of drying them is commercially done in an oven but is more traditionally done in the sun. The resulting chile is a deep red color and a flavor that takes on hints of cherries, raisins, and prunes.
Ancho chiles and ancho chile powder are very versatile and used often in Mexican cooking. They are great for steaks, stews, mole and more!
These chiles (and the powder) are very mild in terms of heat. The Scoville scale, which quantifies heat levels, rates ancho chile powder at around 1,000-1,500 units. To put that in perspective, that is two to 8 times LESS spicy than a jalapeno.
Ancho Chile Powder is a type of chili powder. If you buy it on its own, it is simply a single ingredient – ground ancho chiles that have been stemmed and seeded. Chili powder that is also in the spice aisle, is typically a blend of spices and often includes things like cumin, oregano, garlic, and more.
If you can’t find this in the store, using regular old chili powder with a tiny pinch of crushed red pepper is a great way to fill the hole. Because it is a mild heat, you do not need to add a lot of the red pepper.
You sure can! All you have to do is purchase whole ancho chiles at the store. These are often in the international food aisle. If you can’t find them there, they are easily found at specialty grocers or online.
All you have to do is remove the stem and the seeds, pop them into a grinder that is designated for spices only (coffee grinders need not apply unless you want a spicy coffee in the morning,) and give them a good blitz until they form a powder.
Store that in an airtight container and you are ready to cook.