Is your chilly powder adulterated? Here is how to check it

Often, chilli powder is adulterated with brick powder, salt, talc powder, soapstone, and the like. Photo: iStock/Subodhsathe

Gone are the days people used to make red chilly powder at home by sun-drying red chillis until crisp and grinding them to a fine powder. But in today's world, time is a luxury and often, nobody has enough time to make any curry powders from scratch and so, they are always store-bought.

It’s true that numerous brands have flooded the market with their red chilly powders. However, often they are adulterated and have the presence of artificial chemicals to give powders colour and flavour. Little do we realise that the same can cause deadly diseases like cancer if consumed continuously over a period.

That said, there are several ways to find whether the red chilli powder you buy from shops is adulterated or not:
Brick powder, sand & colour
The adulteration of food materials is carried out to increase the weight and to make it more attractive. Often, chilli powder is adulterated with brick powder, salt, talc powder, soapstone, and the like. To lend colour, harmful artificial chemicals are used.

How to check for adulteration?
You can check for adulteration in chilly powder at home using simple techniques.
For instance, add a teaspoon of chilly powder to a glass of plain water. If it is laced with brick powder or is artificially coloured, the water will change its colour to reddish-brown or orange.

If it is pure, the chilly powder will go down and settle at the bottom of the glass. Also, the water's colour won’t change. If fine stones are powdered and mixed, then white residues can be seen settling at the glass bottom.

Take the chilly powder settled at the bottom and slowly rub it with your fingers. If you feel some kind of grittiness, it could indicate the presence of brick powder or even sand. If it feels like an unguent substance, then its likely that soapstones are added to it.

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