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Sunday, September 26, 2010

speaking of red spice--chili powder and chili

Guys, I keep posting, but that is because it is weekend and so I cook things and then I like describing what I ate.
So yesterday I was at the Chinese market, and they have super cheap cans of spices! Except they only have spices you might want for Asian cooking, so it's not the most comprehensive. I picked up a bottle of red pepper powder, not sure what it was but thinking it would be spicy. And it was! I don't know what variety of pepper they use in Asian cooking, but it has Pep. So I used it to make chili powder (usually you use paprika or cayenne). This is done by mixing two parts pepper, one part cumin, one part oregano. And then maybe some extra cumin. And then hey, I have nutmeg, let's put in nutmeg, and black pepper, and garlic salt, and cloves because why not. And look! Chili powder! Now the obvious thing to do is to make chili.
Here are good things about chili: it freezes well (and frozen things are convenient, as per my previous post); it can be served with sour cream (delicious); and I didn't have to go out of the house for any of the ingredients, which was nice because I am lazy. One thing that is not so good about chili is it takes a while and gets your kitchen very steamy. But this is ok, because I had nothing better to do (except homework.)
Here is what I used for my chili:
1/2 cup dry black beans
1/2 cup dry navy beans
1 cup kidney beans
1 can (big) diced tomatoes
1 can (teeny) tomato paste
2 onions
6 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp chili powder (above)
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt

Basically you mix it in a pot! The beans are the part that take a while: basically you have to boil them in water for two minutes and then let them sit covered (removed from heat) for an hour, and then drain and rinse. This apparently starts the germination process in the bean and gets rid of all the complex sugars that makes beans hard to digest! SCIENCE. And then you have to pour water in again and cook them for another hour or so until they are tender. This whole process could be skipped if you used cooked beans; however dry beans are cheaper by volume, and since they're shrivelled up you get more food per volume anyway, and they also keep with no preservatives! Yay beans.
Anyway once your beans are cooked you add your onions and garlic and spices (which you've been sauteeing). And the tomatoes. The tomato paste is mostly because you are impatient and want the sauce to thicken without boiling it down forever.
Also you could really use any dry beans you like, and you could add chili peppers or green peppers or any vegetables you might have. I have no vegetables. Also I saw a recipe that put a cup of beer in it, and that seems good too, but alas I have no beer. And some people do chocolate, apparently. And you could make meat chili too, but I lack meat as well.

IN CONCLUSION chili is a good thing to make when you have a lot of time and you have a lot of non-perishable food items. And you wish not to go to the store, and to have leftovers.


  1. Actually, chili seems like the ideal Sunday food. Beans take forever to cook, but I do have them, and all the other stuff in this recipe is non-perishable too...

  2. That was sort of my thinking...