I usually go with Chiles de Arbol in this application. From there, it's easy. Pull of their stems and pack as many as you can into the spice grinder. Pulse it a few times. Just until they're chopped into irregular pieces. Yes, leave the seeds in. Yes, just pulse a few times. Repeat until you have as many as you need.
Also, if you want to make your own pure chile powder, first remove the seeds and (preferably) toast your chiles to bring out a deeper, richer, sweeter flavor, then grind into a powder. Nope, it's not rocket science.
Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman (although there are many other variations out there, if you so choose). Right about now is when those crushed red chiles come in real handy.
Homemade Pickling Spice
A well-stocked pantry makes it easy to throw together a batch of homemade pickling spice (or is it the other way around).
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Keywords: condiment herbs spice
Ingredients (approx. 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons crushed red chiles
- 2 tablespoons whole allspice berries
- 2 tablespoons whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoons ground mace
- 24 bay leaves, crumbled
- 2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces
Lightly toast the first three ingredients in a small dry pan, then smash with the side of a knife to crack them or slide them into a paper sack (like a brown lunch bag) and then roll over them with a rolling pin a few times.
Combine cracked spices with remaining ingredients, mixing well. Store in a tightly sealed plastic container or glass jar.