Recently, I had the honour and privilege of being Best Man for a friend’s wedding. Which meant, amongst several other things, I was required to provide a stag do.
Easy, you might think. Piss up in a brewery level of ease.
But no. Not unless breweries come in teetotaller friendly form.
…and when I do, I make a rather well regarded vegan chilli. This can be modified to feed omnivores too, but I’ve generally found that to be an unnecessary complication, as the vegan version is (though I say so myself) pretty damned mighty.
I’ve posted the recipe online before, but I don’t think I’ve ever made a dedicated blog post for it an pointed the whole world at it. So I thought I’d change that. The recipe is designed to serve around eight people, when served with rice or something similar.
But first, the history: In the dim an distant past, cooking and eating chilli was a communal act for myself and a couple of friends… and I’ve retained the ability and inclination to occasionally prepare chilli for the masses. However, the main other human being involved in that ritual of spicy deliciousness has fled these shores for a point that’s about as far as you can get without leaving the planet… and turned Vegan. The pre-mixed spice blend that I used as a basis for my chilli had something non Vegan in it (milk or egg or somesuch), which was a problem.
The fact that I would no longer be able to provide her with a hearty meal of chilli should we ever be geographically colocated preyed upon my mind (foolish fact, there’s little nourishment there!. So I did what any self-respecting technically minded designer would do… I took it apart to see what made it tick. I reverse engineered the original spice blend, modified it to be vegan-friendly and then cooked a chilli using that as the base. I also recorded my personalised “tweaks” along the way and folded them in. I say “tweaks” in inverted commas because those tweaks changed so much along the way that the dish I make bears little resemblance to what you’d get if you used the pre-packaged spice blend on it’s own.
So here’s the recipe for the vegan version of my traditional chilli. I’m rather proud of it. It comes in four sections – ingredients for the dry spice mix, ingredients for the wet or gooey bits that go with the dry spice mix and the “everything else” ingredients. After the sets of ingredients come the actual instructions for how to assemble them into something resembling hot food!
The “Everything Else” ingredients
- 4-5 cans beans (assorted, mainly kidney, some black beans) – these should be ready to cook with, so if they need soaking, soak them first.
- 4 (large-ish) Sweet Potatoes (chopped into 1.5cm irregular cube-like lumps, or thereabouts)
- 4 bell peppers (assorted colours)
- 3 Onions (Chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (chopped) (or more. I favour more if I’m cooking for myself.)
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes (maybe 3 – have one spare)
- 2 cans plum tomatoes
- 1 can/tube tomato puree
- “Some” Jalopenos or Chillis – chopped (these get added to taste along the way)
- “Enough” Basmati rice
The Dry (ish) Spice Mix
- 30g Cornflour
- 5.25 tsp Onion Powder
- 4.75 tsp Paprika
- 1.75 tsp Salt
- 3 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 2.5 tsp Wheat Flour
- 1.5 tsp Cumin
- 2.5 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp Chilli Powder
- 0.5 tsp Black Pepper
The wet or gooey bits of spice mix
- 1.5 tsp Wine Vinegar / Balsamic
- 30g Tomato Puree
- 1.5 tsp Vegemite / Marmite (or more – I’ve been increasing the amount every time I make this!)
- 8g Avocado (or a bit more)
- Around 450ml water
How to make it:
- Chop stuff that needs chopping (That’s all the veggie bits)
- Prepare the mix and then set it aside:
- Combine dry chilli mix ingredients
- Mix into ~450ml water
- Mix in wet chilli mix ingredients
- set aside until (5)
- Mix the beans, separate a quarter of them to use in (4).
- Start frying the following on a high heat:
- the sweet potato (fry this for a bit before adding the rest)
- about 1/2 of the onion,
- the separated 1/4 of the beans
- When the onions are softened, throw in the pre-prepared chilli mix from (2)
- Throw in about half of the tomatoes
- Gradually throw in everthing else.
- Keep on a high heat for a bit, then turn down and hold on low heat until deemed nearly ready.
- Cook enough rice for the people who are going to be eating chilli.
- Serve & Devour. I tend to serve it with rice and a couple of rings of raw onion plonked on top. I devour it with style and aplomb (and a fork).
So now you know, and now I have a place to point people at when I wish them to know about my awesome vegan chilli recipe that even non-vegans seem to like.