Tag Archives: chilli

Creamy vegetarian chilli

I had a theory recently that I could turn Melissa Clark’s amazing shakshuka recipe into a tasty vegetarian chilli. My theory was borne out.

This chilli is made creamy by the addition of feta cheese — an ingredient maintained from the shakshuka recipe. Really, all I’ve changed from Clark’s original is I’ve doubled the recipe, added serrano peppers for variety, and thrown in the requisite chilli powder and beans (white kidneys to compliment the feta) to make it count as chilli. I recommend finely chopping one onion and slicing another because the sliced rings make for occasional oniony mouthfuls, which when you cook them kind of slowly is definitely a good thing, because it adds a bit of sweetness. Also, when I made this, I definitely used more cayenne than I call for here, but the consensus around the table seemed to be that I’d gone a bit too far. Use discretion.

I served this alongside J. Kenji-Lopez-Alt’s fabulous brown butter cornbread, which is super easy to make, even for baking-challenged souls such as myself. And I drank Shiraz with it, which was stupid. Don’t do that. Try Pinot Noir. Or beer.

⅓ cup olive oil
2 large onions; 1 finely chopped, 1 sliced in rings
2 red bell peppers, chopped
4 serrano peppers, sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
1 tsp chilli powder
2 28 oz cans whole plum tomatoes in juice
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
2 540 ml cans white kidney beans, drained
Cilantro for serving
Hot sauce for serving

Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the olive oil, the bell peppers and the serrano peppers and cook until soft, 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the cumin, paprika, cayenne and chilli powder and cook one minute. Add tomatoes and their juice, roughly breaking the tomatoes up with a spoon as you stir. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tomato juice has thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add crumbled feta and stir in until melted and incorporated, raising heat if necessary. Add kidney beans, and let sit for 5 minutes on low heat. Serve topped with cilantro and hot sauce.

Cumin chilli portabello stir-fry

Stir fry

Okay, time to momentarily become a food blogger.

This is a vegetarian stir-fry with some tasty, tasty flavours. I adapted it from a New York Times lamb-based recipe with added inspiration from something I once ate at Rangoli. Here is what you will need:

  • 5 fresh Thai red chillis
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • An encouragingly non-specific amount of salt
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 portabello mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • peanut oil, some
  • 1 finely chopped yellow onion
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Shaoxing rice wine (you could use cooking sherry in a pinch, but ugh)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
  • Jasmine rice

Here is what you will have to do in order to make this delicious thing:

  1. Make the rice. I’m not going to give you specific instructions because you are not a child. On the other hand, if you are a child, do it like this.
  2. Cut and partially un-seed 5 Thai red chillis. (Leave more seeds if you want the dish spicy, less if you prefer it mild.) Grind in a mortar and pestle. Add 1 clove garlic; grind that as well. Add 1 tsp sugar, a dash of salt and 1 tsp vinegar. Grind into a paste. (Credit for this paste goes to this recipe. Except I use 5 Thai chillis instead of 10, because I’m not ready to die.)
  3. Toast 1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns, 1 tbsp cumin seeds in a wok over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minutes, until the smell makes you want to press your face into the wok. (Do not do this.) Grind finely in 2 batches in a mortar and pestle. (Doing it all at once requires too many muscles.) Add 1 tsp of cumin powder and a dash of salt.
  4. Put chopped red bell pepper and 2 sliced portabellos in a large mixing bowl, and dampen with a bit of peanut oil. Pour in spice mix, and toss until coated.
  5. Heat a wok to high heat, coat with about 2 tbsp of peanut oil. Sauté 1 finely chopped onion for a minute. Add chilli paste, mix. Add seasoned portabellos and peppers. Sauté until desired firmness. About 2 minutes.
  6. Add ¼ cup each of soy sauce and Shaoxing rice wine. Remove from heat when about half of the liquid remains.
  7. Add 2 cups finely chopped cilantro, with stems. Serve over rice.

I paired it with a sweet-ish Pinot Grigio, but I’d say it would go well with any not-too-dry white. Long live stir-fry!