This is a red spicy powder made up by grinding dried chillies. There are many different grades of red chilli powder from a Kashmiri chilli powder which is a mild chilli but gives a vibrant red colouring to dishes right through to a Birds eye chilli powder which gives a much more fiery heat.
Capsaicin is the oil in chillies which gives them the heat and intensity they are known for. Different varieties of chillies contain different levels of capsaicin which is what makes some hotter than others. Red chillies contain high levels of vitamin C and this helps the body take up iron from the ingredients of a meal. Capsaicin is an effective analgesic and has been used medically for pain management
Using Red Chilli Powder (Lal Mirch) in Indian Cooking
Chilli powder is predominately used both for heat and a bit of colour in marinades, fillings and dry preparations. Usually fresh chilli is used during the cooking process and then additional chilli powder is added if and extra punch of heat is required.
My preferred chilli powder is Kashmiri chilli powder or degi mirch that have a mild heat but a wonderful smoky flavour and a wonderful bright red colour.