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Indian-Inspired Chili

December 24, 2009

It seems a little overly dramatic to say the flavor of this chili haunts you- that should be reserved for something

indian inspired chili

more exotic than chili, I think.  But I will say that the flavor of this chili lingers with you- it has the perfect combination of spices that really does remind you of Indian food.  I found that the original recipe did require a little tweaking, though, because it seemed very watery when I made it.  I added some tomato paste I had, but I think you could increase the amount of tomatoes because it only calls for a small can.  I was tempted with doubling the spices because the amounts seemed paltry, but I’m glad I didn’t because the flavor was perfect.  Even with the addition of tomato paste it seemed a little thin, so I added about a tablespoon of masa harina (pre-cooked cornmeal) to thicken it.  I think if you use a large can of tomatoes in puree, you won’t need to do that.  Despite all this, I do recommend you try this chili because of the amazing flavor.  The extra tweaking is worth it.  I would serve this over steamed basmati rice with some plain yogurt- or better yet- raita, on top.  And no, this is not an appetizing picture- it needs some fresh cilantro or sliced jalapenos or better lighting to do it justice.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Serves 4.


1 T vegetable oil

1 cinnamon stick

1 T ginger garlic paste, or 1/2 T minced garlic + 1/2 T minced fresh ginger+ pinch of salt, ground to a paste with a chef’s knife

1 onion, diced

1 1/2 c plus 3 T water

1 1/4 lb ground turkey

28 oz can whole tomatoes in thick puree, or 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes plus 1/3 c tomato paste

1/2 t cayenne (half this if you’re worried about the heat)

1/2 t ground coriander

1/4 t ground turmeric

1/4 t ground cinnamon

1/8 t ground cloves

2 c red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

salt to taste


Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat and add cinnamon stick.  When cinnamon stick begins to sizzle, add ginger garlic mixture and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes (lower heat if it begins burning).  Add 3 T water and onion, if using, and cook 4 more minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes, until it beings to thicken.  Add ground turkey and cook, breaking it up with a spatula, until cooked through- about 5 minutes.  Add spices and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the beans and remaining 1 1/2 c water and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.  Taste for salt.  Serve over steamed basmati rice.

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