The Spicy Vegetable Chili
Feels like I have been making chili since like forever. I have made so many of them I cannot even keep a count. because you know? it is one of the best comfort foods that not only amazing in the winter but in summer too. May it be the bowl of chili topped with sour cream and bread sprinkled cheddar on top. Over your favorite pasta or to make Nachos with it just could not get any better.
Over the years I have made many versions of this dish, with different beans, some with white beans, garbanzo beans or red kidney beans and different meat and veggie combinations. It comes out so much nuttier and flavorful with red kidney beans. I guess you could say I have my favorite.
Red kidney beans are so full flavored, and it look gorgeous whenever you cook with it.
However, beans are that special ingredient that I like to take my time preparing. Also, it is not an everyday cooking ingredient for me. I know this sounds like way over the top, but I gave up buying canned beans for a quite a while ago. Don’t get me wrong they are super convenient and very handy when you are rushing through the day. But trust me when I say buying dried beans from fresh sources is really key when it comes to the flavor. I buy mine bulk from local supplier. I soak at least 4 cups of dried beans at one go and par boil them and freeze them for later use. Having said that if that is not your cup of tea, canned beans work too. definitely. Texture and flavor, you get might be different.
Because I am going to use the beans that I previously boiled, I will share my way of prepping them with you.
There are two types of red beans, red adzuki beans are the small and darker red toned ones. They are soft and quick to soak and cook compared to red kidney beans. Red kidney beans take longer time to soak and if you really take that time prepping the beans it gives its best flavor. I always soak mine with little vinegar or baking soda. Soak for 12 hours and drain, rinse and refill the water to soak another 12 hours. After 24 hours, drain and rinse again and boil until about 75% of the way cooked. Beans should be soft but with little bite to them. Drain and completely cool them before dividing in to portions and freezing for later use.
Once we have the beans ready to go let us get the rest of the ingredients prepared for this delicious curry-based chili.
Red bell pepper 1 cup
green bell pepper 1 cup
one red red onion
2 jalapeno peppers
3 Cloves of garlic
One inch piece of ginger
One sprig of curry leaves
2 cups red kidney beans (2 cans of red kidney beans drained and rinsed)
One piece of dried gamboge (dried Garcinia Cambogia fruit)
One inch piece of cinnamon
1tsp of mustard seeds
1tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of Spanish paprika or cayenne pepper
1 tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of coriander powder
2 heaping teaspoons of Jaffna roasted curry powder
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
2 cans of tomatoes (crushed or diced)
Two cardamom pods
1 tsp of black pepper
Salt to taste
Heat a stock pot in high heat and add some olive oil in it. When the oil is hot add some mustard seeds and let it crackle.
Into that add ginger garlic paste and when it is fragrant add the vegetables. Let the vegetables soften a little bit, mix all the powdered spices together and add it to the vegetables, toss to coat. Add in the beans, can of tomatoes and tomato paste. Add 2 cups of water. Mix well and turn the heat down to medium low. Add gamboge. Simmer it on stove or in the slow cooker for 2 hours. If you are cooking on stovetop add more water if the curry becomes two thick and does not have enough water to absorb. Also, scrape the bottom of the pan for prevent burning from time to time.
Turn the heat off once vegetables are soft and beans become soft. Let it cool down completely. This recipe is going to yield 8 cups of chili. Enjoy over your favorite pasta or rice.
Garcinia is a fruit that is dried and used in many spicy curry preparations in south Asia and far East. You could get it form amazon or nearby Asian grocery store.
Jaffna curry powder is a Sri Lankan curry spice blend that is used mainly in seafood and meat dishes. It tends to be spicy. I buy mine form amazon