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Chili powder (also called chili mix) is a spice mix consisting of various ratios of dried ground chile peppers, Cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic, oregano, and paprika. As the name suggests, it is used to spice chili as well as many other dishes. Many people make their own chili powder, and many versions are available commercially.
There is some disagreement about the origin of manufactured chili powder. The two men generally credited with marketing the first commercial chili powder blends were William Gebhardt and D.C. Pendry.
Pendry ran a Mexican grocery supply company in Ft. Worth, Texas. He began manufacturing and marketing his blend of chili powder in about 1890, encouraging its use by people who were unfamiliar with it by supplying recipes to restaurants in the area.
William Gebhardt was a German immigrant to New Braunfels, Texas. He served chili in his café, flavored with his own blend of chili powder. He starting selling the blend in about 1894 under the brand name Gebhardt's Eagle Brand Chili Powder.
Commonly confused with the similar-sounding chile powder, which is simply dried and pulverized Chile peppers, the fruit of any of a number of varieties of the Capsicum plant of the nightshade family (Solanaceae). In cooking, a heaping teaspoon-full of chile powder is an equivalent substitute for one "average" chile.
An acceptable mix is:
Paprika 1 T
Ground Cumin 2 T
Cayenne Pepper 1 T
Oregano 1 T
Garlic Powder 2 T