Red Chile Powder


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes About

    Β½ Cup

Appears in

Cooks in Burma tend to have a light hand with chiles, leaving guests to add more heat at the table by adding condiments such as chile oil, chile powder, and various sauces.

This powder packs a punch, so use only small amounts of it in recipes. The dried red chiles are dry-roasted for a few minutes in a skillet or over low heat on a grill. It’s important to not let them scorch, which would make them bitter. I grind mine with the seeds, using a food processor; you can also remove the seeds before you grind the chiles. The with-seeds version has more heat and is coarser looking.

It’s worth making a large batch of this.


  • 2 cups loosely packed dried red chiles


Place a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, lower the heat to medium and add the chiles. Keep moving them around in the pan to help them roast evenly and to prevent charred spots. After about 3 minutes, they will be softened, aromatic, and a little darkened. Alternatively, grill the chiles briefly on a charcoal grill over a low flame, turning them frequently to prevent scorching, until softened and aromatic. Remove from the pan or grill and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Break off the stem ends of the chiles and discard. You can empty out and discard the seeds or keep them for a hotter powder. Using a food processor, or working in batches in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder, grind the chiles to a powder (be careful not to inhale it). Store in a clean, dry jar.