When I first went vegan, I had this notion that I would be condemned to a lifetime of easting nothing but salads. But that before I delved into the world of vegan recipes that abound on the net, and before long I was not only surviving, but actually thriving on all the new eating possibilities that opened up in the meatless universe.
What clinched the deal was the realization that I could make a chili that was just as incendiary as the one I used to make with ground beef, albeit a lot less greasy. This is something I would make by rote, and I never tried to write down the procedure as a recipe – well until now that is. Chili saved my life and sealed the deal as far as staying meatless is concerned. I love the flavor, and I could eat it three times a day, seven days a week, for months. It keeps well in the fridge and as with all chili, the flavor improves with each reheating.
I usually like this dish very hot – when making a batch for myself, I just dump in the fresh and powdered chilies and it becomes inedible for everyone else but myself. When cooking for others, I have to consciously tone down the heat – it comes off as too bland for me, but just a little too spicy for others. Luckily I keep bottles of El Yucateco habanero sauce around as backup.
This recipe makes use mainly of canned vegetables so it’s quite easy and fast to whip up a batch if you’re in a hurry. I usually make a large batch of chili ahead of time and keep it refrigerated when I want fast meals – just add rice and microwave it – and you’re done.
Thanks to the beans, this is a very high fiber dish, especially when eaten with brown rice. This will boost your fiber consumption up to stratospheric levels and really clean up your gut.
ingredients:one large red onion, chopped1 teaspoon olive oil (optional, for sauteing onions)2 tablespoons water, for steam frying2-3 sili labuyo, chopped (red pepper or any chilies you have lying around)1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder or chili flakes (add more to taste)1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)A dash of italian seasoning or pizza seasoning herbs (oregano, parsley, thyme).1 can or 400 grams of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed1 can or 400 grams diced tomatoes.1 can or 400 grams of whole yellow corn kernels, drained and rinsed1-2 cans or 400-800 grams of sliced mushrooms. I go for the big 800 gram can.1/4 cup leeks, for garnishprocedure:1. prepare a large stock pot or dutch oven. Heat the oil over medium heat. If you’re a low fat vegan, you can eliminate the oil altogether and use water for sauteing.2. Pour in the chopped red onions and saute in oil or water until brown. Add the chopped fresh chilies. If you’ve used a little oil to cook the onions, pour in the water and then close the pot with a lid and let the onions steam-fry till soft.3. Open the can of mushrooms, drain the water (or use a little of the water for the steam frying), then pour in the mushrooms and mix with the onions and chilies.4. Add the diced tomatoes, red kidney beans, and corn and mix with the mushroom mixture. Simmer under low heat for about 25-30 minutes, stirring constantly.5. While the chili is simmering, add the spices. Sprinkle the cayenne pepper first, then the black pepper, then the italian seasoning. Stir into the chili.6. After about 25 minutes, taste the chili. If the thickness is just the way you want it (some people prefer a more watery consistency, other like it thick) then turn off the heat.7. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with chopped leeks. Enjoy!
For a “meatier” chili, add more canned mushrooms, or use fresh mushrooms – I use Shitake or Oyster mushrooms when these are available. If you like this really hot, you can ratchet up the flavor by putting in more spices. Just make sure your table napkins are flame resistant.