Chili powder is a spice mix that includes many of the spices found throughout Latin American cooking. Most chili powder blends will include ancho chili powder along with cumin and oregano. Individual blends may include other spices like garlic, paprika and cayenne. Chili powder blends are widely used in Latin American cooking. For example, it is used to season beef for tacos and enchiladas. In Tex-Mex cooking, chili powder is a staple ingredient in chili con carne. It is a fairly potent spice mix, which means that it is easy to put too much of it into a dish by accident. If you have been overzealous with your use of chili powder, you may wind up with food that is too spicy to eat. There are several ways to solve that problem without having start over from scratch.
More of the main ingredient
Sometimes the simplest solution to a problem is also the best one. Adding more of the main ingredient dilutes the spice and brings the heat down to a reasonable level. Example: In a chili con carne, you would simply add more beef. You can add two or three times the amount of beef that the recipe requires. If the result is that you would wind up with too much food, you can simply freeze some of it or invite some additional dinner guests.
Note: When adding more of the main ingredient, add more of the non-chili spices in your chili powder like cumin and oregano. This means that if you are doubling the meat in a chili con carne recipe, you should double the other spices in your chili powder blend except for the ancho chili. This will help to preserve the flavor that you want while still diluting the heat from the ancho chilis.
Skim the fat
If you have put too much chili powder into a soup or stew, place it into your refrigerator and let it cool. The fat will rise to the top and solidify. Note that this can take several hours to happen; it is best if you leave the dish in the refrigerator overnight. Once the fat hardens, you can skim it off to lessen the heat. This works because capsaicin is oil soluble, which means that much of it will be suspended in the fat. Capsaicin is the chemical in chili peppers that causes the burning sensation.
Dairy is a well-known remedy for dealing with the effects of eating chili peppers. Dairy products break up and wash away capsaicin, which helps to stop the burning in your mouth. They can also help to neutralize the heat in your dish and dilute the other spices in a chili powder blend. Depending on the dish, you can add dairy in the form of sour cream, whole milk or yogurt.
Potatoes and other starchy vegetables
Potatoes are useful for rescuing a wide range of savory dishes as they can be used to soak up excess spice. Potatoes will counter both the heat from the ancho chilis in the chili powder as well the excess cumin and other spices. Simply add a few pieces of potato to the dish and remove them before serving.