Search This Blog

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meatless Red Chili

Last year, the community I stayed in hosted a big chili cookout. Till then, the only green and red chilies I knew where the ones from the grocery store. A click on Google revealed that the chili they were talking about was supposed to be a spicy stew. Now that seemed very convenient because a stew can be a combination of any vegetables and any meat, perfect for hiding one’s cooking blunders!

What ultimately made me take part in the competition was not my love for cooking but the prize of 300 dollars off in next month’s rent. As I ventured into the unknown territory of cooking a chili (that too a meatless version) it was like entering a fascinating world of colors and aroma. For one it takes ages to cook, the slower the better and so the flavors and the smell just float around you for hours while it cooks until you can’t wait to eat it. However the highlight of a chili is the use of so many complex ingredients to create this one simple dish. You keep adding and adding and adding ingredients only to create a solitary dish where all of them blend in beautifully together.

Red onion diced – 1 large
Minced garlic – 4 cloves
Red bell pepper diced – 1 medium
Orange bell pepper diced – 1 medium
Crumbled tofu – half a cup
Diced tomato – 1 can (28 oz)
Tomato ketchup – 1 tsp
Dark red kidney beans – half a can (14 oz)
Light red kidney beans – 1 can
Vegetable broth – 1 can
Corn kernels – 1 can
Cooking oil – 2 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Red chili flakes – half tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Water – 4 cups
Salt and pepper
Thinly sliced green bell pepper – for garnish as needed
Grated carrot – for garnish as needed
Grated cheese – for garnish as needed

Heat oil in a deep cooking vessel and sauté onions till cooked. Add  garlic, red and orange bell peppers, tofu, corn and cook for 5 minutes while stirring. Crush the dark red kidney beans into a thick chunky paste and add to the vegetables already being cooked. Add the remaining kidney beans, diced tomato, spices, salt, pepper, water and vegetable broth. Now let it cook on low heat for 2 hours. Alternatively, transfer the whole thing into a slow cooker and let it simmer away for 6 – 8 hours. At the end of the cooking time the dish should have a stew like thick consistency. Add tomato ketchup and mix as you turn the heat off.  Garnish with green bell pepper, carrot and cheese before serving. Till then, food and more food..

No comments:

Post a Comment