Tag Archives: cumin

Chili Tip

So this evening…I learned something about making chili.

Don’t strain your beans. If in a can, just add your beans as they are.

Somehow I got it into my head that rinsing my canned  kidney beans was  a good idea before adding them to the chili.

Not so much when you need the starch to pull everything together.

Veggie Chili after many modifications

Veggie Chili after many modifications

I was attempting this recipe: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetariancrockpotrecipe/r/crockvegchili.htm

The above picture was taken after all my modifying which included:

1) more spices than called for

2) a flour/water mix to thicken the chili

3) a splash of vinegar to add a high note to the flavour

4) addition of more salt to add to the flavour

At the end of the experiment, I have the picture above.  A pretty good bowl of pseudo-chili that will go well on rice. 🙂


NOTE: October 7, 2013

On Facebook, we have had quite the discussion about chili and rinsing the beans.

A few people have noted that rinsing diminishes the, shall we say unpleasant, by-product of beans.  Since my chili was made to eat during the week while I’m working…I guess we’ll see about that! 😉

Another suggestion was to mix in a roux rather than a straight flour-water mix.  So noted for next time.

One other step I took last night that I didn’t mention before is that I left the lid off the slow cooker during the final hour (I cooked it for 6 hrs) to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. That too made a huge difference.


For some reason, chili continues to be my nemesis!  One day I will figure this out and all the amazing-tasting, non-gaseous chili will be mine!!! Muah  hahahahaha!!

Chana Masala-ing my way into cooking Indian food – Repost

Last September, I went through a phase making Indian food.  Chana Masala was one dish I made that was spectacularly easy and yummy! At the time, I didn’t have all of the spices mentioned in the recipe.

Last night though I made it again and this time, I had fresh Amchoor powder and Garam Masala on hand that I picked up at an Indian grocery store  in Scarborough. It turned out delicious, again!

It’s an incredibly easy dish. Once you have minced your onions and garlic, chopped up your two tomatoes and grated your ginger, it’s a straightforward fry to the end!

Oh, and don’t forget to put your rice on while you prep the Chana Masala!

Chana Masala – Take Two!

What follows is the original post I wrote when I first made Chana Masala in 2011:

Over a week ago, I decided to make some Indian inspired food.  I had that craving, that physical *need*, for curry, and I didn’t want to order in. So, instead, I made this:


Mmmm, chana masala!

My initial attempt to make chana masala went extremely well. If you have never made Indian food before, as was the case with me, I would recommend this as a starter dish.  It was honestly incredibly easy, straightforward and even after freezing and reheating, it continues to be delicious.

The only problem I had is that the recipe I found online called for ingredients I didn’t have on hand and that I couldn’t find: armchoor powder, cumin seeds and a hot green chili pepper (these are around…there just weren’t any at the two grocery stores I visited).  So I simply left them out and hoped for the best.  As I say, I lucked out…the dish turned out quite lovely…although I wonder how much better it would have been had I been able to find all the ingredients.  Ah well, that’s just a reason to make it again!

Click here for the recipe I used or scroll to the bottom of the post.

Everything about this recipe was straightforward and easy…the most complex part is the preparation.  Well, for me that is.  I still take a long time to chop/mince/and otherwise prepare my ingredients.

But once the preparation part is over…this recipe is beyond simple.  Start by sauteeing your onions and garlic.

Once your onions are tender and browning, add the coriander, cumin (not the roasted cumin…considering I didn’t have any anyway…), cayenne and turmeric.

At this point, the fragrance of the mixture is awesome although it’s quite dry.  But that’s okay, moisture is coming!  Stir the dry mixture just enough to fully cover the onions and garlic, I think I stirred barely 30 seconds, and then add the tomatoes.

At this point, I added a small splash of water to up the moisture just a bit.  Cook the tomatoes until they begin to brown.  It is at that point you add the chickpeas, water, and remaining spices.

Stir it up until well mixed and then cover and allow to cook for about 10 minutes.  In that time, the above mixture turns into this:

Final step? Uncover and add the grated ginger.
At this point, I re-covered the dish and allowed it to sit on Low for an extra 5-10 minutes as I was waiting for the other portion of my meal to cook, so as long as you keep an eye on the moisture, you can allow it to cook a little longer.

So there you have it.  So easy, so straightforward, so yummy, and hey, so good for you! 😉


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon amchoor powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 6 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

Ingredients I didn’t have but which were called for:

  • 2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced (I simply decided against the chili, not wanted a dish that was too spicy)

To see the original recipe w/instructions for the above missing ingredients, visit: www.food.com/recipe/channa-masala-17471

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add onions and garlic and sauté over a medium heat until browned (3-5 minutes).
  3. Turn heat to medium-low.
  4. Add the coriander, cumin (not the roasted cumin), cayenne and turmeric.
  5. Stir for a few seconds.
  6. Add the tomatoes.
  7. Cook the tomatoes until browned lightly.
  8. Add chickpeas and a cup of water and stir.
  9. Add paprika, garam masala, salt and lemon juice.
  10. Cook covered for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the cover add the ginger.
  12. Stir and cook uncovered for 30 seconds.

Easy-Peasy Slow Cooker Chili

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

Chili is one of those dishes that you have to work hard to ruin.  I’ve done so twice.  That’s talent!

That isn’t to say that I have never made *good* chili…just that I have *bad* chili experience to build upon.

I remember the very first time I made chili…I drowned it in cumin.  (At that point in my life, I also pronounced it “come-in”….don’t do that unless you want to be laughed at! Loudly saying something like “I put too much cum-in!” in front of a bunch of people is something you never live down!)

The reason for the second failure is unclear…I think I went a little wild on the spices.  One outweighed the other, too much of this, not enough of that…It was one of those dishes that made your tastebuds go “WTF?” and simply shut down.

As I have said, though, I HAVE made good chili and this past weekend is an example of  that.

For the actual recipe I followed, visit my twin blog: Recipes from Edible Noir

Cue the ingredients….

The first step was to dice up some cloves of garlic and onions and then caramelize them over med heat.  I forgot to take a picture of this…so use the artistic rendition of that step below to help you visualize the process.

A frying pan, sort of. I think the onion and garlic bits are quite accurate. 😉


Once the garlic and onions were tender and softened, I added the ground beef.  I used extra lean to reduce the amount of fat I would have to deal with later on.  As the beef browned, I added a few drops of hot sauce and a dash of oregano for some zip and flavour.

One cool thing about chili is its flexibility.  You can choose to add or avoid pretty much whatever you wish.  The vegetables I decided to add were all I had in my fridge at the time and it worked out quite well.  As the beef browned, I chopped up some carrots, celery, peppers and mushrooms.

The beef didn’t take too long to brown completely, at which point I used a slotted spoon and added the mixture to the slow cooker.

Followed by the two cans of beans and the vegetables…

Finally topping off the whole thing with the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and various spices I wished to add…(hot sauce, chili powder, cumin *that’s cue-min, NOT cum-in*, chili flakes, paprika, salt, pepper).

I left my chili in the slow cooker on high for a couple hours, stirring occasionally, and then let it sit on low for another couple of hours.

Chili is SO easy and straightforward! (Says the girl who has messed it up a couple of times!) It took me barely an hour to get everything in the slow cooker, and then you simply leave it to cook.


One thing I have learned during my various experiences with chili is that you really need to have fresh chili powder.  The older it is, the less potent and the more you have to add (which still doesn’t have the zip that new powder would).

Also, DON’T over-add cumin!  I speak from experience when I say…Ugh!

Add a bit at a time.  That actually goes for all the spices.  Each time you add some spices, give them a bit of time to sit in the chili, as it cooks, and allow the tastes to mix before you decide to add more.


* 2 small onions
* 2 lbs ground beef
* 2 cloves garlic
* 2 carrots
* 2 celery stalks
* 1/2 red pepper
* 1 cup mushrooms
* 1 can black beans, strained and rinsed
* 1 can red kidney beans, strained and rinsed
* 1 can crushed tomatoes
* 1 can tomato paste
* oregano
* hot sauce
* Chili powder
* Cumin
* Chili flakes
* Paprika
* Salt/Pepper
* Can add cayenne pepper for some extra heat if you wish

1. Fry onions/garlic until softened

2. Add ground beef plus a bit of oregano and a few drops of hot sauce and cook until the meat is completely brown

3. Add meat mixture to your slow cooker with a slotted spoon

4. Chop up your vegetables of choice. (I decided to add carrots, celery, peppers, and mushrooms.) Add them to the slow cooker.

5. Add your strained and rinsed cans of beans, followed by the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste.

6. Finally add the spices (hot sauce, chili powder, cumin, chili flakes, paprika, salt, pepper) and gently stir the mixture together.

7. Cook in slow cooker on High for approximately 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

8. Turn slow cooker down to Low and allow to continue cooking for another 3 hours or so. Again, check/stir occasionally.

NOTE: If you find you are low on sauce, as I was, consider adding another half can of tomatoes/ready-made sauce/etc.

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