Pop’s Peppery Chili

Pop’s Peppery Chili

Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili

Ingredients

  • Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili
  • On the stove, simmering in a saline broth are fluffy pods of supple-skinned beans bearing pearly starch on the inside, like a patch of fertile brown earth unfolding in a pot. In that patch of earth, one sees a flash of harvest season, Dad’s mulch-smeared hands at work, stripping away dry pods of dark red beans. With a little help from sauteed vegetables cajoled by robust spices, the starchy bean bulk can be magically transformed into a pot of chili. The onions and garlic that leave a trail of gossamer skins and piquant aromas are suggestive of the warmth at the dinner table, with Dad passing bowls and spoons around as the hungry munchkins sing the stir-the-soup song to complement Mom’s actions. The chillies are in a league of their own. From groovy greens to raging reds, not to forget the mellow yellows and coy oranges in between, the shiny hues belie the fieriness within. With their cooked-down textures, and stray seeds that sneak in, trailed by feeble tails of piths, they suffuse the vegetables and the beans with heat and vigor. The veracity of their meaty essence is somehow evocatory of a backyard scene in the summer, where Dad clearly seems footloose, free of that workday stiffness, with his loveable stubbly cheeks and cotton shorts. Whether it’s piles of hamburger buns that are readied for a sloppy joe showdown or Mom’s lineup of rotis and naans skittering off a hot tava, there’s nothing that can come even close to the smiles that reach Dad’s eyes as he digs into his bowl of red. A big bowl of red and all that jazz for Dad this Father’s Day, from Mom and her helpful but noisy nuggets.
  • Peppery Chili with Pickled onions and Makki-ki-rotis
  • 2 Tablespoons light olive oil
  • ½ Teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 Dry red chilli pepper
  • 1 Big onion, chopped
  • 2 Carrots, finely diced
  • 3 Large garlic cloves, grated or crushed
  • 2 Cups chopped mixed hot and sweet peppers (We used one each – Jalapeño, Serrano, yellow chilli, Anaheim, Thai chilli, Mini sweet pepper and half each – Poblano and red bell pepper)
  • 1 Zucchini, finely diced
  • Spices -
  • 1 Teaspoon each cumin and coriander powders
  • 1 Teaspoon each unsweetened cocoa powder and cornmeal
  • ½ Teaspoon each black pepper and red chilli powder (adjust as per the heat of the peppers)
  • ¼ Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 Tomatoes, blanched, de-skinned and puréed
  • 2 Cups red kidney beans, cooked (cooking liquid reserved) or canned beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Cup bean cooking liquid, vegetable stock or water
  • 2 Cups poached or roasted chicken – shredded, optional
  • Salt to taste
Read the whole recipe on Tadka Pasta