I was so happy with the way this dish turned out. It tasted good. More importantly, I got good pictures! I see that getting a good shot lifts my spirits more than anything else, even more than when a new experimental dish turns out well! Well, what is the point in cooking something new if you can’t shout out from the rooftops, right?
So here I was, dish in hand, rather on the table, looking so appetising (the dish, not me!) and serve a nice big serving of this Chili, proudly telling my hubby “I’ve made a Mexican dish…blah blah blah…tell me how you like it” etc., and he tastes it and goes “Wow! Rajma’s very good today. And so is the guacamole. But what Mexican dish are you talking about?” So after that Chili-turned-rajma comment I simply refrained from getting into what cuisine or country I’d cooked from that day. At least he got the guacamole right!
This Mexican chilli was one of the first ones I made for this month-long Blogging Marathon that’s themed on international food and flavours. We call it Around the World in 30 Days! To reprise, we run alphabetically and cook from any country starting with the alphabet of the day and post about it. We’ve covered alphabets A-L in the last two week and it is M for Mexico for me today and I’ve made a typical Mexican chilli and a guacamole dip, both of which we ate with fresh whole-wheat homemade bread.
Chili is basically is a spicy stew that includes chillies, tomatoes and/or meat and cooked dried beans. It may also include other seasonings like garlic, onions and cumin. The most common way of preparing chili is the Chili con carne (chilli with meat), with beef being the most common meat used. The recipe I used, again from The Global Vegetarian, suggested replacing the meat with paneer. I’m forgetfulness personified and it was after I started chopping the tomatoes and the onion that I realised I did not have any paneer on hand. Nor was there enough time to make it right then at home. The red kidney beans, though, were soaked and ready. Thank God for small mercies! I chose to skip the meat stand-in and prepared the chilli in its most basic form.
It wasn’t out of choice, but I ended up with more than a few dishes for this marathon that use red kidney beans. I love it and cook rajma in several ways. This did end up being similar to the Brazilian feijoada bean stew, except that the oregano flavour set it apart. Since there weren’t too many other spices and condiments, the flavours of the main ingredients stood out too. If you like rajma, you’ve got to like this. But I’m waiting for the next opportunity to make it with some grilled paneer. I’m sure that’ll be a great combination. You could use other dried beans like black turtle, pinto etc. too in place of the red kidney beans.
I’m putting up the Guacamole in a separate post. Do look it up here. And if you want to try baking bread at home here are a few options. The one I made was the panmarino, but shaped somewhat differently.
Dried red kidney beans – 1 cup
Tomato puree – 1 tbsp (I pureed a small tomato)
Onion – 1, chopped
Garlic clove – 1, minced
Bay leaf – 1
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Dry oregano – 2 tsp
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp (I’d increase it to 1 tsp next time; this was too mild for us)
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Soak the dried kidney beans in 1 cup of water overnight or for 6-8 hours
Pressure cook in the soaked beans (in enough water to just cover it) for 4 whistles
Let the pressure drop on its own
Meanwhile, heat oil in a saucepan (I do this step too in the pressure cooker)
Add the bay leaf and garlic and onion
Once onion turns translucent, add in the tomatoes, coriander seeds, oregano, red chilli powder, and salt and cooked kidney beans. Add water to adjust consistency
Give it a good stir. Cover and cook on medium low heat till gravy on the pressure thickens (I put the lid back on the pressure cooker with the whistle in place and cooked till the cooker started on the first whistle)
For more recipes from countries starting with the letter K, please check this link: