Wednesday, February 15, 2012

vegetarian chili, if I may call it that.

This is how I make my so-called Vegetarian Chili:
(the trick is to get the beans prepared beforehand, or start early, so they're done by the time you actually get down to preparing this for a meal)

base ingredients:
1 cup uncooked beans (red, pink, black, whatever) (I once used Great Northern beans - SO good)
1 medium-sized onion, diced
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (or use it finely chopped, whatever's easier for you)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds (zeera)
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced (the more the better, always)
green chilies, chopped (or jalapeno, habanero, anything)
the hot spices you put in here depend on how hot you want this thing to be. I use everything hot I can find - red chili powder, paprika, cayenne, black pepper.
salt to taste.

optional, flexible ingredients (basically, throw in whatever you find in the kitchen)
carrots, finely sliced
celery, chopped
mushrooms, sliced
green beans, cut
mini sweet peppers
What else? I'm sure you can find a whole bunch of yummy things to add in. Anyway, keep the total of all of these veggies to about one and a half cup at most. You want it to be more beans, less veggies.

Boil the beans. Wait no. Soak the beans overnight, if possible. It'll just be quicker to cook them later on. Boil the beans till tender in a pot with salt to taste, and don't let them dry out while cooking. Add more water if necessary to make sure there's liquid in the pot once the beans are cooked through.

In a separate pan (like, a wok, or a regular frying pan, but a big one) heat up a few (4?) tablespoons of oil, and start by frying the onions until they are transparent. Add the ginger-garlic, all the chopped vegetables you want going into the chili, as well as the green chilies, and all the spices you picked out, including the cumin. Throw in the tomatoes and let everything get nice and soft and gooey. Not really gooey but just soft. Mushy, a little bit. The tomatoes. I like my carrots and celery and such to remain solid, a little crunchy but not too hard. Don't forget to put the salt. I do that all the time. I like to divide my salt between the boiling beans and the onion-tomato mixture so there's an even saltiness all around.

So. When the onion-tomato-vegetable mixture seems about done, add it to the beans+liquid and stir well. Let everything come to a simmer for a few minutes so the liquid thickens with the vegetable mixture, and once it is all is nicely blended, garnish it with cilantro, turn the stove off, and cover.

It's ready to be served! And yum, this is one idea of comfort food. Especially when it's hot and fresh!

I'm falling asleep right now because of the chili I made today, and ate for a late lunch.

Today's Chili: red beans, mushrooms, french cut green beans. sleep-inducing not-letting-me-study evil food.

Btw, I am literally falling asleep on my keyboard right now so if you notice any flaws in this recipe, please point them out in the comments. Thank you!

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