Friday, March 2, 2012

Vegetarian Chili (Stew) with Chocolate


This recipe is probably one of the most random things I've ever tried, though perhaps not as random (or disgusting) as the banana and carrot sandwich I concocted a couple of years ago. In the end, though, it turned out to be pretty good and hearty, and was of course a tonne of fun to cook with a dear someone nearly 8,000 miles away over web cam.


I've never actually had chili before, but I imagined that it would at least have been a little spicy as the name suggests. However, this was more on the sweet side, mainly because of the strange, and not entirely necessary, addition of chocolate. The most disappointing thing about this, though, was that there was a lack of definition in taste that made it stand out on its own; as we agreed after tasting, this recipe, if anything, was unfortunately a little unmemorable.


Granted, I have to admit that I did not entirely follow the original recipe. If I had, it looks like I would've ended up with a watery soup instead of a stewy mixture. If I had to make it again, which isn't entirely unlikely, I would probably also add more cumin, onion, tomato (paste) and garlic, just to give it that extra punch and because I could barely taste these ingredients in this version. Adding garlic to the cous cous, though, did help to boost the taste a little, so maybe next time, a whole extra clove needs to go into the stew itself! Also, a little less chocolate and red chili powder would also probably help the taste. Keeping all things in mind, I thought the chili or stew or whatever this was, tasted a lot better (from a 2/5 to 4/5 yummy factor) when eaten with a bit of cous cous with fried garlic.

Ease of Cooking Yummy Factor Apprx. Cost
HK$40 (US$5)
Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 tomato, finely diced*
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste*
1 can (15oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can (15oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2-2.5 cups vegetarian chicken broth
1 tsp cumin, ground
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chili powder
20g bittersweet chocolate
1 cup cous cous
1 cup water 
*Alternatively use 1 can whole tomatoes 
Directions
  1. Heat oil and cook 1tbsp oil, 1 clove garlic and all of the onion in a pot until slighly softened.
  2. Add chickpeas, kidney beans, 2 cups of broth, cumin, salt, tomato, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened (approximately 1 hour). If it becomes too dry, add more broth or water.
  4. Stir in the chocolate until melted. Keep warm.
  5. Meanwhile, fry 1 clove of garlic in the rest of the oil until golden brown.
  6. Add water and bring to a boil.
  7. Turn off heat, add cous cous, cover and wait until it soaks up all the water. 
  8. Fluff with a fork before serving.