Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Indian Chili

A long time ago, I used to think that all Indian food is just curry and dough balls cooked in oil. Seriously! Looking back, that might have been from an early childhood memory of a going to an elementary school friend’s birthday party, whose family was originally from India. Sometimes, kids can be picky eaters and I was one of those. I wasn’t picky at home because my mom would have none of that. Eat what’s on the table was the rule. My mom is a very good cook and I knew then that her food was better than everyone else’s moms, so I only liked what she made. Also, I was not big into trying different types of food when I was a kid. So, that birthday party made a lasting impression on Indian food for me.

A few years ago, I met Anne. I’m not quite sure where she is now, but at one time, we had something in common. We both lived in a beautiful piece of land somewhere in Washington State with cute dogs, alpacas, chickens (so many different breeds, cutest things ever), a horse, and cows, surrounded by apple, pear, and cherry orchards with a gorgeous view of the valley and the peaks of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams. She lived in the guest house and I lived in the big house with my wonderful host parents. That was one of the most special times in my life that I will forever be grateful for.

Anne invited me over for dinner one time and she made chana masaledar. That was the turning point for my aversion to Indian food. What was I thinking all those years ago? Today, I love Indian food… every dish is so full of flavor with all the different spices and sauces.

Two weeks ago, I came home to soaked kidney beans, which was an indication that I probably should figure something out with them. So, I decided to make chili with what I believe to be a spice combination inspired from all the Indian recipes I read about or made in the past… Indian Chili is what I’m calling it.    

Indian Chili (Makes 4 servings)

1 cup dry kidney beans, soaked for at least 4 hours
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
½ inch cube ginger, chopped in about 4 small pieces and mashed

1 tablespoon olive oil
5 garlic cloves
half of a medium onion, diced (feel free to add more)
half of a large shallot, chopped (feel free to add more)
¾ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp salt
3 carrots, chopped
3 kale leaves, roughly chopped (feel free to add more)
half of a large bell pepper (feel free to add more)
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp chili powder, optional
1/8 tsp cardamom
4 whole cloves, crushed
salt (to taste)

Soak the beans for at least 4 hours in water. When ready to be cooked, drain the water.

Over medium heat, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil in a medium sized sauce pan. Add the beans and ginger. Stir, cover, and cook over medium heat for an hour to a little over an hour. Stir every now and then.

Meanwhile, get the other ingredients ready and start cooking these in a large pan. Heat oil in the pan and sauté the garlic until golden brown. Add the onions and shallots and stir until soft and almost translucent. Season with garam masala and salt.

Add the carrots and stir for about a minute. Add the kale and stir until it is slightly soft, but not wilted. Then add the bell peppers and stir for another minute. Pour in the diced tomatoes and stir for about 2 minutes. Season with the following spices: cayenne, paprika, and chili powder. Stir until everything is mixed together. Turn the stove off and move the pan away from the heat. Let the vegetables sit until the beans have cooked.

You will know they beans are cooked when they are just tender, about an hour or more. Taste to make sure. When beans are tender, add the cardamom and whole cloves. Stir. Move the vegetables into the sauce pan and stir everything together. Cook for another ten minutes or so. Season with salt to taste.  

Serve with some naan or this curry-raisin baguette.


  1. Amazing! This is what I call fusion food at its best. Love that you used chicken stock to cook the beans giving it more flavor and used Indian spices like garam masala. Wonderful dish!!! I would love to try this out for sure.

    1. I could have made it completely vegetarian, but the chicken stock was starting to get old and I didn't want to toss it.

  2. Wonderful fusion recipe, Margarita! Love the spices used in this chili.

    I hope the comment system is working :)

    1. Looks like it is now. Thanks for letting me know it was being funky!

  3. Mhmm I love chili. This looks like a great meal.

  4. There's no way I would have ever touched Indian food when i was a kid but now I can't get enough of it! Love the flavors in this!

    1. I can't get enough of it either! Sadly, we don't have any good Indian restaurants around here. So, I rely on my cookbooks.

  5. That looks like a serious stand up meal! :)

  6. This look so good. I'm practically drooling!

    Fashion Dawgs


Let me know what your thoughts are... Your comments always make my day!