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~Is it spelled chile or chili? It is NOT a regional thing!~

6a0120a8551282970b0168ebf0c318970c-800wiAt any given moment, I have a few to several jars of randomly purchased chile powders or chile blends on my spice rack.  They are all quite good, are marketed by reputable manufacturers and I am thankful for them.  They do, however, limit me to using whatever each manufacturer has produced or included in their product, as well as what is available to me at my local markets. I want to point out that using dried chile powder and dried chili powder in the home kitchen is very convenient, and, if used corrrectly, compromises much less than the "fresh chile pepper purists" want you to believe.  That being said, it helps to know what you are buying.  To know what you are buying, you need to know what the spelling means.  On you do:  the label will reveal it all.

IMG_2459Yesterday, a reader questioned my spelling of chile powder and the spelling of chili powder in general. I thought it was a great question, so, today I'm going to take the mystery out of it for everyone.

Q.  Liz says and asks:  I noticed in your recipe for white chicken chili that you spelled chili powder with an 'e' and then a second time with an 'i'.  At first I thought it was a typo. Then, I took a look at a few of your other recipes and noticed that you spell it differently quite often. My husband said he thought both spellings were acceptable and it is a regional thing.  Then, I looked at a few spice bottles in the grocery store and they too were labeled differently.  I'm confused.  Is there a difference between the two?

6a0120a8551282970b0133f563b1e5970b-800wiBy the way, your white chicken chili is the best we have ever tasted!

A.  Kitchen Encounters:  Liz, what a great question.  There is indeed a difference between chile powder and chili powder, and: 

Once you know what the spelling means,

you will know what it is and what is in it! 

IMG_2464CHILE:  Spelled with an"e" at the end, refers to the fresh or dried plant or pod or fruit of any member of the pepper family.

CHILI:  Spelled with an "i" at the end, refers to soups, stews and/or sauces made with fresh or dried chile peppers (like chili con carne).

CHILE POWDER:  When spelled with and "e" at the end, means it is a powder made from one or more dried chiles exclusively.  This is sometimes referred to or marketed as POWDERED CHILES, or CHILE BLEND (if it contains more than one kind of chile powder).

CHILI POWDER:  When spelled with an "i" at the end means it is a mixture of ground, dried spices (for example:  cumin, garlic, onion) and chile powder, meaning:  the manufacturer has added spices to the chile powder or a blend of chile powders.

(Note to readers:  For those of you who would like my recipe for ~ "White Out" White Chicken 'n Corn Chili ~, just click into Categories  2, 3, 13, 17, 19 or 22!)

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2013)


Scotty! As always, you made me smile and made my day!!! ~ Mel.

Of course there are people like me who use Chilli for the spicy pod and powder. :)

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