chili seasoning mix powder recipe paleo herbs spices primal how to rub

Recipe: Homemade Chili Seasoning Mix

What to do with used glass jars and bottles? How about making up seasoning mixes to give for gifts, or to keep in your own pantry. Stored in a cool dry place, these should last for up to six months.

The chili seasoning mixes in my local supermarket do contain the ingredients you’d expect, like paprika, chili, cumin, oregano, pepper and garlic, but they also contain “Spices” (why not specify which spices? Seems a bit suspicious to me) and” Anti-caking Agent (551)”. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not consume anti-caking agent.

As well as using better ingredients, it’s also far cheaper to make your own and you can experiment to find your favourite blend.

I’m growing a few different types of pepper in my veggie bed, so when these are ready, I’ll be dehydrating them and adding them to this recipe. In the meantime, I buy ready dried peppers. I’ve got an Indian shop and a much larger Asian supermarket near me, so I tend to try this with a few different varieties of chili peppers. I’ve seen so many varieties – Cayenne, Serrano, Cascabel, Habanero, Tabasco, Poblano, Guajillo, Jolokia, Chipotle, Ancho, Ayenne, Bullseye and Bullhorn – so see what’s available near you and try a few different blends.

Recipe: Homemade Chili Seasoning Mix
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 6-8 whole dried peppers of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregeno
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked)
  1. In a hot pan, toast the chili peppers for a few minutes, taking care not to allow them to burn. When the smell starts to release, remove them from the pan and allow them to cool.
  2. Toast the cumin seeds in the same pan, again stirring constantly to ensure they don’t burn.
  3. Remove the seeds from the chilli peppers to be used in another recipe. If you want your seasoning extra hot, you may like to add in a few of these seeds.
  4. With a pestle and mortar (if you’re old school, if not, try a blender) grind up the chilli peppers and cumin seeds into a powder.
  5. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  6. Make sure you store in an airtight container (like a jar) to keep it dry.
  7. Shake the container before using to ensure thoroughly mixed.
  8. Note: If you want to use fresh chili’s, dry them thoroughly in a dehydrator first, then roast them. It’s essential you ensure they are fully dry first, otherwise your mixture could go mouldy.


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Herbs Spices Seasoning Moisture Storing Clumping Caking the Paleo Network-min

How to stop herbs and spices clumping together

It can't just be me – I come to use a particular jar of dried herb, spice or seasoning, to find it completely stuck together and impossible to get out. It's so frustrating, and seems to be worse with onion and garlic powder, which always seem to cake soon after the containers are opened.

This happens when moisture and humidity get into the container causing it to clump together and form a rock. Whilst the moisture will reduce the flavour and strength of the herbs, a lot of them you can re-invigorate by removing the moisture. Far less wasteful than throwing unused herbs and spices away.

Herbs Spices Seasoning Moisture Storing Clumping Caking the Paleo Network-min

How to remove the moisture

The easiest way is in the oven. I heat my oven to about 125C (250F) and use a metal skewer to get break the clump (or in this case garlic powder) out of the container, onto a sheet of baking paper, on a baking tray.

After just a couple of minutes, the heat will have removed the moisture, and I remove the tray and allow it to cool. Once cooled, I transfer it back into the container using a funnel and it now dispenses freely!

To prevent it happening again

Make sure the containers you store your dried herbs,spices and seasonings in are completely air-tight and always shut the lid/ close the container properly. Storing somewhere cool and dark (or even in the freezer!) will also help prevent moisture coming into contact with the inside of the container.

Avoid the temptation to shake the container directly into a pot of steaming food – this will allow moisture in. Spoon what you need out of the container, away from the stove top.

You can also add some dried beans or rice to the container to absorb any moisture and prevent the mixture from clumping.

Storing the containers upside down will also help prevent air getting in, making them last longer.

Cajun Kale Chips paleo recipe crisps-min

Recipe: Cajun Kale Chips

Kale chips have to be one of the easiest, tastiest, and most fun ways to eat copious amounts of this green superfood. They are really easy to make; they just require a little patience and delicate seasoning. They can be enjoyed sweet (I’ve made both cinnamon and chocolate kale chips, both of which were delicious!) and savoury, but in this recipe I’ve gone for a smoky, slightly spicy, Cajun seasoning. You're going to love my Cajun Kale Chips!

A quick note – If you’re using salt, sprinkle it on AFTER the kale chips are cooked. Otherwise, it will attract water to the kale and make them soggy. Also, don’t use olive oil, as the kale chips will have a bitter taste. Avocado and macadamia oils are both excellent choices.

Recipe: Cajun Kale Chips
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 bunches kale
  • 2 tbsp macadamia nut / avocado oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 160C / 300F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Chop the kale. If you need to wash it, make sure it is COMPLETELY dry before you take any further steps. A bit of dirt never hurt anyone, so I skipped the washing stage.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the kale leaves in the oil. Mix the spices together, and massage them onto the kale.
  4. Place the kale onto the baking parchment, leaving space in between each soon to be chip. You may need to roast them in batches. Transfer to the top shelf of the oven, and bake for 20 minutes – do not open the oven at all in this time!
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before enjoying.

Cajun Kale Chips paleo recipe crisps-min

Bajan Mahi Mahi with Caramelised Cinnamon Plantains paleo recipe dinner fish-min

Recipe: Bajan Mahi Mahi with Caramelised Cinnamon Plantains

When available, mahi mahi is one of my favourite types of fish to eat. It’s really meaty, and full of flavour so requires little attention if you’re in a rush. That being said, this traditional Bajan style seasoning takes it to another level. Try and allow at least a couple of hours marinating time for the seasoning to really penetrate the fish. It pairs beautifully with the natural sweetness of the plantains; buy them really ripe to achieve the sweet, sticky sensation you are looking for.

 Mahi Mahi Ingredients:

  • 2 generous sized Mahi Mahi steaks
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsps dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp coconut oil x 2
  • 2 large, very ripe plantains (almost black all over)
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (optional)

 Mahi Mahi How To:

1)    In a mortar and pestle, crush the spring onions, garlic and chilli together to make a paste. Add the vinegar and herbs and stir together, before rubbing all over the Mahi Mahi. Leave in a Ziploc bag to marinate for at least 2 hours.

2)    When ready to cook, heat 1 tsp of coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Chop the plantains in slices approximately 3cm thick, and add to the pan with the onion. Sauté gently, stirring every once in a while, for 10 minutes until golden brown. Coat in the cinnamon, nutmeg and coconut sugar (if using) and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so until browned and sticky.

3)    Meanwhile, heat the other teaspoon of coconut oil in a separate pan. When it reaches a high enough temperature, drop in the Mahi Mahi steaks. Depending on the thickness, pan fry for 2 / 3 minutes either side – so that they are cooked through but still succulent in the middle. Serve next to the caramelised plantains.

Bajan Mahi Mahi with Caramelised Cinnamon Plantains paleo recipe dinner fish-min

My top 10 herbs and spices paleo primal cooking recipes-min

My Top Ten Herbs & Spices

Since I’ve been Paleo my cooking has got more and more inventive, and I find I’m using a lot of different Herbs & Spices.

This does start out quite expensive if you don’t have any, but I really recommend going out and buying a basic selection to get started with.  Just by changing the herbs you can completely transform a meal.

Herbs-and-Spices paleo my top ten-min

When I went strict Paleo, I already had a lot of Herbs & Spices, but I went through all of my Paleo recipe books and bought all of the herbs and spices that came up in the ingredients list.  I’ve noticed I tend to use a few very frequently, and some are barely used, so thought I’d share my top ten herbs and spices, and what I use them for.

  1. Onion Powder.  Although I use onions too, this is great to add to lots of dishes for extra onion flavour.
  2. Garlic Powder.  I use this similarly to onion powder, to gives an almost sweet garlic taste.
  3. Turmeric.  I’m trying to add this to more and more of my cooking, as it is has so many great attributes – including having anti inflammatory properties.  Turmeric gives a yellow colour and a slight bitter, mustard flavour.  I always add Turmeric to curries.
  4. Cayenne Pepper.  This is a hot spicy chilli pepper, with hot being the word!  I only add a very small amount, but often add it to dishes like chilli, where I want a bit of heat.
  5. Paprika.  This is from dried capsicum and quite a sweet flavour.  It gives food a red colour and I’ll use it in sauces and dips.
  6. Oregano.  I seem to use a lot of this, almost anytime I cook with tomatoes, I add some oregano.  It has a slightly lemony flavour.
  7. Thyme.  I often add this near the end of cooking to ensure the heat doesn’t damage it.  I add it to lots of different things such as stews, vegetable dishes and stocks.
  8. Cinnamon.  This is my current favourite – I use it in almost everything.  Although it isn’t sweet, it’s great as a sweet substitute in tea and NoOatmeal.  I commonly use it in meat dishes as it gives such a great flavour.
  9. Ginger.  This is another favourite which I have to regularly replenish.  I often add this to curries.
  10. Salt.  This is another must have which brings out the flavour in dishes.  I naturally have quite low blood pressure, and as I don’t eat anything processed think it’s quite a good addition to my cooking.  I use Pink Himalayan salt as it is very pure with a great mineral content.  I also have Celtic Sea Salt, which also has a great mineral content.  I would go without rather than having table salt!

Herbs-Spices my top ten paleo-min

Are my most commonly used Herbs & Spices completely different to yours?  Which are your favourite Herbs & Spices and what do you use them for?

My top 10 herbs and spices paleo primal cooking recipes-min