Difference Between Chilli Powder and Ancho Chilli Powder (With Table)

We can identify a different kind of tastes with the help of our tongue. The taste buds present in our tongue are responsible for identifying these tastes. Out of the six main varieties in flavour, hot (spicy) is one of the most desired flavours among all kinds of people. The spicy flavour in any dish enhances the taste of any food. The balance combo of hot with other flavours tends people to eat more due to its rich flavour.  There are many individual and combination of spices which provide hotness to the food.

Among the various sources available for adding spiciness, chilli powder and ancho chile powder are two famous enhancers of hotness to a food.

Chilli Powder vs Ancho Chilli Powder

The difference between chilli and ancho chilli powder lies in its intensity of heat they provide and, in the constituents, which are added in them. While chilli powder could be made up of different ingredients, dried poblano chilli pepper is the major constituent in ancho chilli powder.

Chilli powder consists of many ingredients such as peppers, spices, onion powder, cayenne and garlic powder and many varieties of chilli peppers. All the above constituents are mixed in pulverized form.

Ancho chilli powder is a special type of chilli powder made by powdering dried poblano. Ancho chilli powder is unique as it provides a combination of mild heat and a little bit of smoky and sweetness. 

The Scoville heat unit (SHU) (the primary scale for measuring the intensity of heat) for ancho chilli powder is around 1500 SHU. While the SHU of other chilli powder can range from 700 to tens of thousands of SHU. The value varies depending on the chilli powder used. For instance, the ‘Naga Jolokia’, a chilli pepper, which is grown in the regions of Assam, has one of the highest Scoville units, ranging till 855,000 SHU.  

Comparison Table Between Chilli and Ancho Chilli Powder

Parameters of ComparisonChilli PowderAncho Chilli Powder
ConstituentsIt consists of various chilli peppers, spices, oregano, cayenne, onion and garlic powder, capsicum annum (Indian Chilli) etc.It mainly consists of roasted and dried poblano chilli peppers.
Level of HeatMild to Extremely heatMild heat with a complex sweet and smoky flavour
Popular inDifferent varieties of chilli powder are used which depends on the region and cuisine followed by the peopleAncho Chilli Powder is widely popular in authentic Mexican dishes.
Scoville Heat UnitsHot Chilli Powder has a scale of more than ten thousand SHUAround a thousand five hundred SHU
ExampleKorean chilli powder (Gochugaru), Kashmiri chilli powder,Ancho chilli powder is made only with poblano chilli peppers.

What is Chilli Powder?

Chilli powder, sometimes spelt as chile powder, is a combination of several powdered food ingredients which adds heats to the food. Popular constituents include oregano, black and cayenne peppers, onion powder, spices like cumin, garlic powder, jalapenos, paprika, and other chilli peppers from capsicum annum family. Depending on the region and the food culture, the constituents in the chilli powder varies. The level of heat also varies depending on the chilli peppers used.

For instance, Kashmiri chilli powder is widely used in India. It consists of Kashmiri chillies, grown in the region of Kashmir. Byadagi chillies are also famous in India. The Korean chilli powder consists of medium-sized capsicum annum species. Hot chilli powders usually have cayenne pepper in them. The average Scoville scale for cayenne pepper is forty thousand, which is extremely hot.

A blend of chilli powder varies on the requirement of the heat to be induced. There are chilli powders which provide mild heat with complex sweet and smoke taste. Ancho chile powder is one such example. Yet, there is another category of chilli powder, providing the highest level of heat to the dish. For example, the combination of cayenne pepper powder with Naga Jolokia (chilli pepper from Assam) gives an astronomical level of heat intensity.

Though the flavours of the dish get enhanced by the addition of various chilli powders, people do advise to not consume extreme heat foods for health reasons. Though the level which can cause problems for humans is widely disputed, it is always better to be on a safer side.

What is Ancho Chilli Powder?

Ancho chilli powder is one among the categories of chilli powder which is widely used in original Mexican foods. It is made by drying and roasting poblano chilli peppers. Poblano chilli peppers are widely grown in the region of Mexico. Thus, it became a part of Mexican cuisine. Ancho chile powder offers mild heat and used in soups, salsa, stews etc.

The Scoville heat unit of ancho chilli powder is around a thousand to thousand five hundred SHU. This means that it does not offer a high level of heat. Ancho chile powder is unique in its taste as it offers a blend of hot, sweet, earthy and smoky flavor. Like all chilli powder, ancho chile powder is done by powdering the poblanos.

Main Differences Between Chilli and Ancho Chilli Powder

  1. Ancho chilli powder is made up of dried poblano only whereas chilli powder constitutes of different ingredients apart from the common chilli peppers belonging to capsicum annum species.
  2. Ancho chilli powder offers a mild heat with a unique taste. Chilli powders provide a different level of heat intensity which depends on the constituents used.
  3. Ancho chilli powder is used in Mexican dishes whereas chilli powders are used in all cuisines such as Indian, American, Chinese, Portuguese, Thai etc.
  4. The Scoville scale is just 1500 for ancho chile powder whereas it ranges from hundreds to tens of thousands of Scoville units in case of chilli powder.
  5. Different kinds of spices are added in chilli powder whereas high priority is given to dried, ripe poblanos.

Conclusion

Chilli powder denotes to a variety of spices and chilli peppers. Ancho chilli powder is one such chilli powder which makes use of dried powdered poblanos. Substituting ancho chilli powder for other chilli powder will definitely alter the taste when used in cooking.

References

  1. http://journaldatabase.info/articles/chillies_as_food_spice_medicine.html
  2. http://fcs-hes.ca.uky.edu/sites/fcs-hes.ca.uky.edu/files/fn-ssb.005.pdf
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