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Food & Wine Ground >> I don't get it....difference b/w Cumin and Chili?


2/27/10 10:08 PM
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WaltJ
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Just bought some ground cumin tonight for my barbacoa tomorrow, and it seems to smell and (for the most part, taste like) chili powder.

What's the difference?
2/27/10 11:39 PM
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alpo
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Well, one is dried and ground red chili peppers and the other is ground seeds from a cumin plant.  They don't taste or smell alike at all.  Are you sure you have real chili powder or is it some kind of spice mix?  Also, if they have been stored next to each other for a very long time, some of the smells may have crossed over. 
2/27/10 11:51 PM
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WaltJ
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No idea.


2/28/10 2:45 PM
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ashleigh11
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Edited: 02/28/10 2:47 PM
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chili powder is a spice mix that contains cumin. it usually has dried chilis, garlic salt, and onion powder also

cumin gives chili or chili powder its smokey smell/flavor.
2/28/10 2:57 PM
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alpo
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Edited: 02/28/10 2:58 PM
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A lot of them are spice mixtures, yes, but not all of them.  You have to look at the ingredients to make sure you are buying actual chili powder.  If you are buying McCormick's or some major brand, I guarantee it is a mixture.  If you live in the midwest or the UK or something, though, that might be all you have access to.  Pure chili powder is easy to make if you have a food processor, but do it outside or it will be like someone set off a tear gas canister in your kitchen. 
  
2/28/10 6:42 PM
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Kevin Curtis
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From Wikipedia...

There are two different piquant ("hot") spices commonly called Chili powder, chile powder or chilli powder (British English).

One is a powder consisting purely or mainly of powdered hot chili peppers...and the other is a powdered spice mix intended as the principal flavor ingredient in chili con carne.

The former, which is sometimes also called cayenne pepper can be made from virtually any hot pepper including the eponymous cayenne, ancho, jalapeño, New Mexico, and pasilla chilis.

This type of chili powder is widely used in traditional Indian cuisine. In Indian_English chilli powder always means this one, not the spice mix.

The chili powder spice mix contains hot chilis and often mild paprika chilis as well, and other ingredients which usually include cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and salt. It may also include any or all of the following additional spices: black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, mace, nutmeg, and turmeric.
2/28/10 6:51 PM
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Kevin Curtis
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I've also seen people differentiate by using the term "chili powder" for the mix, and "chile powder" for straight ground peppers.
2/28/10 7:30 PM
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alpo
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Yeah, I really hate the term, in general.  There is a lot of confusion, even if you know what to look for.  When you buy chile/chili powder that lists dried chilies as the sole ingredient, you still don't know what you're really getting.  The heat and taste can vary wildly.  I suggest either making it yourself out of the specific type you want or just finding a brand that you like and sticking with it. 

There's nothing worse than buying a new kind of chili powder, making something you've made a hundred times and having it be too spicy for your girlfriend or wife to eat.  Or you buy some piss weak one and have to use twice as much in everything. 

I've never heard of cayenne pepper not being made from cayenne peppers, but that is fucking shitty if it's true.  I guess I need to check the ingredients on that too. 

I personally make my own in batches, for consistency, using dried Thai chilies.  My spice grinder is too small, so I just put a big fistful of them in my food processor, with a couple chipotles, and leave it on for 3-5 minutes to really pulverize them.  Not that the premade powder is expensive, but it's a lot cheaper to make it yourself too.  It probably costs about 20 cents to fill up a 12 oz jar. 
3/4/10 2:35 PM
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Mit
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alpo - Well, one is dried and ground red chili peppers and the other is ground seeds from a cumin plant.  They don't taste or smell alike at all.  Are you sure you have real chili powder or is it some kind of spice mix?  Also, if they have been stored next to each other for a very long time, some of the smells may have crossed over. 


Now for something completely random......I saw on the food channel that cumin and cilantro come from the same plant...with cumin being the seeds and cilantro being the leaf. It was on Everyday Exotic with Roger Mooking...do you yanks get that show?

I never knew that and for some reason it blew my mind.
3/4/10 2:56 PM
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shibbytastic
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Mit - 
alpo - Well, one is dried and ground red chili peppers and the other is ground seeds from a cumin plant.  They don't taste or smell alike at all.  Are you sure you have real chili powder or is it some kind of spice mix?  Also, if they have been stored next to each other for a very long time, some of the smells may have crossed over. 


Now for something completely random......I saw on the food channel that cumin and cilantro come from the same plant...with cumin being the seeds and cilantro being the leaf. It was on Everyday Exotic with Roger Mooking...do you yanks get that show?

I never knew that and for some reason it blew my mind.


Coriander (seeds) and Cilantro(leafs) are from the same plant. Cumin comes from an unrelated plant.
3/4/10 4:14 PM
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Mit
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shibbytastic - 
Mit - 
alpo - Well, one is dried and ground red chili peppers and the other is ground seeds from a cumin plant.  They don't taste or smell alike at all.  Are you sure you have real chili powder or is it some kind of spice mix?  Also, if they have been stored next to each other for a very long time, some of the smells may have crossed over. 


Now for something completely random......I saw on the food channel that cumin and cilantro come from the same plant...with cumin being the seeds and cilantro being the leaf. It was on Everyday Exotic with Roger Mooking...do you yanks get that show?

I never knew that and for some reason it blew my mind.


Coriander (seeds) and Cilantro(leafs) are from the same plant. Cumin comes from an unrelated plant.


Oh shit....that's quite the fail...my bad. I guess that's what I get for only half watching....

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