Chilli Beans

Years ago I used to make a chilli dish – the recipe comes from a dear friend who lives in the Grampians. It was a chilli that is often called “Mexican” although it is not, and includes coffee, chocolate and red wine. I gave up making it when I adopted a vegetarian diet. It was only recently that another friend reminded me that chilli without meat is possible – and also delicious.

Elwyn’s Chilli Beans was such a no-fuss recipe – a few essential ingredients cooked at the barely simmering heat level for hours until all was infused with chocolate, coffee, wine and chilli.

The success of a Bean Chilli, with our without meat, is the deep, dark richness of the sauce. I took Elwyn’s recipe and added favourite spices to deepen the flavours, a variety of vegetables to enrich the dish, and some walnuts – I made enough to feed our street! Luckily it freezes very well. It is quite a “meaty” dish with the walnuts adding a great texture.

Because this dish requires long and slow cooking, it can also be cooked at a low-moderate temperature in the oven.

Similar recipes include Borlotti Bean and Garlic Soup, Persian Stew with Winter Vegetables, Barley and Root Vegetable Stew, and Black Barley with Mushrooms.

Browse all of our Kidney Bean recipes, Borlotti Bean dishes, and all of our Stews. Or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Okra Pachadi | Okra with Coconut-Chilli-Ginger Yoghurt

We are so blessed that we get good quality okra locally at a cheap price. Move closer to the city and it is rare and expensive. Our local shops stock it by the barrel load, a testament to the local Indian, Nepalese and Middle Eastern communities. I had never used Okra as much before I shifted into this area. It shows just how much that the stock in our shops influences our behaviour.

This is another Pachadi, a South Indian dish of yoghurt, okra and spices, a cooling and healthy dish. I have a few other Okra raita dishes – each one is a little different.

Similar recipes include Nethu Kottu Flour Pachadi, Methi Sprouts Tambuli, Okra Tamarind Pachadi, Zucchini, Lime Leaf and Yoghurt Salad, Sauteed Okra with Ginger and Garlic, Roasted Okra with Tomato, Aloo Bhindi, and Bhindi Raita.

Browse all of our Okra dishes and al of our Pachadi recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Pineapple and Cucumber Salad with Tamarind Chilli Dressing

Tamarind is a natural match with tropical fruits, and this salad is hot, sour and tangy. It is a take on an Indonesian salad, and is perfect in Summer when we have the sweetest of pineapples available. The cucumber is seeded before being diced.

What a delicious dish this is, the tamarind and vinegar adding the sour notes and the chilli the hot notes – these play beautifully with the sweetness of the pineapple and the coolness of the cucumber.

Similar recipes include Hawaiian Chilli Pineapple Salad, Tamarind and Lime Dressing, Cucumber Salad with Rice Vinegar, and Balinese Sambal Iris.

Browse our Pineapple recipes and our Cucumber dishes. Our Indonesian dishes ar ehere. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Congee with Ginger, Mushrooms and Chilli-Black Bean Sauce

At some point during Winter we long for congee because of its warming and nourishing nature, and because it is the sort of dish that can be eaten from dawn until after midnight. Only the toppings will vary. My first introduction to congee, so many years ago, was through an Asian friend who would take me for mid night bowls in Sydney’s China Town. It was quite a ritual.

Today we make congee cooked with shiitake mushrooms and ginger, and topped with king oyster mushrooms, bean curd bows and a chilli-black bean sauce. We describe the best way to cook congee and make congee bowls here, so have a look before you make today’s recipe.

In our Chilli-Black Bean Sauce we use a Lao Gan Ma Sauce. You can read more about these amazing sauces here.

Similar dishes include Barley, Millet and Mung Congee, How to Make Congee Bowls, and Black Glutinous Rice Congee.

Browse all of our Congee recipes, and our King Oyster Mushroom dishes. Or browse our Mid Winter recipes.

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Tomato-Garlic Soup with Tamarind and Spices, with a Lemon Chilli Yoghurt

This is a soup unashamedly based on a South Indian classic – Tomato Rasam. Tomato Rasam is a soupy broth based on tomatoes, tamarind and tangy, hot spices. It is sipped and also ladled over rice, so cannot be equated with a Western soup. However we can take the flavours of Rasam – the tomatoes, the tang, the spicy heat – and with this inspiration create a more Western style soup to awaken the taste buds and enliven the palate.

This soup is full of garlic, ginger, black pepper and turmeric, all good for Winter colds and general immune system. It’s one of the soups that we make when laid low with a Winter lurgy.

Tinned tomatoes can be used if the fresh ones lack flavour. We would normally serve it with raita, plain yoghurt, cream or coconut milk but today chose to make it without any of these to be more friendly to those in the household with colds. It is just as good without.

Similar recipes include Horsegram Rasam, Tomato Shorba, Tomato Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger, and Tomato and Dal Soup.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes and all of our Indian Soups. All of our Soups are here. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Spinach and Toasted Orzo with Green Chilli Yoghurt

There is something about orzo and spinach – it is a much loved combination, there are lots of variations, and it is easy to pull together. Tamimi has a version in Falastin, his book with Palestinian  flavour combinations and recipes. It combines orzo and spinach with a yoghurt-chilli-herb mix. Simple, yes, Divine, also.

The dish can be a dish in a vegetarian meal, a side dish or something akin to a salad. Throw in some feta, black olives and/or chopped tomato if desired.

Similar recipes include: Orzo and Eggplant Bake, Elegant Orzo and Spinach, Chickpea and Orzo Soup, and Rice and Orzo.

Browse all of our Orzo recipes and all of our dishes from Falastin.

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100 Vegetables: #38. Chillies

Chillies – fresh, preserved, dried, powdered – where would we be without them? Red, green, orange, yellow, purple – Mexican, Indian, SE Asian. Elongated, round and bubble shaped, long or short. Mild to hot to extremely hot.

Whatever the form, they bring life to a dish. We have so many recipes featuring chillies – here are some of them. Enjoy.

You can browse all of our Chilli recipes here. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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Onion and Chilli Polenta

Another way that we love to cook polenta is with caramelised onions and oregano, with a ton of butter and cheese added. Then it is pan fried until crispy on the outside and soft and cheesy in the middle.

It takes a while to caramelise the onions properly, then simmer them with the stock. Allow sufficient time to make this, perhaps as you potter around the kitchen on a Sunday morning.

Another way of serving this polenta is to leave it quite moist so that it does not harden, and lay a bed of it on a plate. Top with anything you fancy – below that is a Sticky Fennel Jam that I made while the onions were caramelising. But also a beautiful Italian tomato sauce with be perfect on top. Also some roasted broccoli florets. A green chilli paste. Crispy onion rings. Whatever your imagination suggests.

Similar recipes include Wet Polenta and Tomato Layers, Polenta Crisps, and Polenta Chips.

Browse all of our Italian dishes and all of our Polenta recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  It appears here as part of the Retro Recipes series of recipes which documents our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Chilli Salt Tofu with Salad of Greens

Do you need a chilli hit? This is the dish for you then. The recipe is from my old flatmate, Chris Manfield, in her book Stir but over the years it has had a little altering in our kitchen. It is a dish that will wake you up. Mind you, it is a bit Ottolenghi-esque, with four or five different processes in the recipe. It will take you about 30 mins to make.

The dish sounds like a firey chilli heaven or hell, depending on your viewpoint. However it is not as hot as it seems. The chilli salt is moderated with the rice flour. You can add as much chilli as you prefer to the dressing, but I like it spicy. Use your loved chilli sauce or jam to garnish the salad. Don’t skimp on the sugar or vinegar/lemon juice elements as both of these help to moderate the impact of the chilli heat.

I adore deep frying tofu – it is so much better than the deep fried tofu squares you will find in Asian shops. Crispy on the outside and soft and pillowy in the middle. You might like to read How to Use Deep Fried Tofu. In this dish, the tofu is coated in a chilli-pepper crust before frying. You will think of a thousand ways to use this even without the salad.

Similar dishes include Deep Fried Tofu in Coconut Broth, Sticky Makrut and Tamarind Tofu, and Black Pepper Tofu.

Browse all of our Tofu dishes. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Korean Braised Tofu with Sesame-Soy-Chilli | Dubu Jorim

This is a glorious way to serve tofu. It is a Korean braised tofu dish that is enormously popular as a side or main dish. To make this dish, the sliced tofu is pan fried and then braised in a soy sauce-based sauce.

The recipe uses a little known trick to firm up the slices – this makes it easy to handle them and to serve them in a variety of ways. The trick is to simmer the slices in salted water – this process tightens protein structures and causes the tofu to exude its moisture. This in turn gives the tofu slices textural integrity so that it can be simmered for a longer time while absorbing the flavours of the sauce.

Serve the tofu atop a bowl of rice, with kimchi, with steamed greens, in salads, as part of a mezze spread, or in a wrap or sandwich.

Similar recipes include Bean Curd (Tofu) with Mushrooms, Tofu and Spinach Layers, and Sticky Kaffir and Tamarind Tofu.

Browse all of our Tofu dishes and all of our Korean recipes. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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