Amritsari wadis are bitter and spicy, but as they break down on cooking, they add this incredible meaty element to my vegetarian chili recipe. I’ve used rajma in this chili, but you could use another bean of your choice. Endlessly adaptable, you can also choose to leave the corn out, add carrots to your chili, a dollop of sour cream at the end and some guac. This chili freezes well, and is great in burritos, but also quite awesome by itself with some rice and a squeeze of lemon juice. Fusion food at its best, if you ask me.
Note: Do remember that the longer you cook this chili, the better the flavour will be, and its taste will only get better the next day.
Wadiyan Chili With Sweet Corn
Yield 4 servings
This chili can be made with any leftover beans in the refrigerator, including but not limited to chickpeas, red kidney beans and black eyed peas. It is best to soak the rajma at least 8 hours in advance before you start on the chili.
Red kidney beans 400g, well-soaked for 8 hours at least
Bay leaf 1
Cinnamon stick 1
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil 4 tbsp, divided
Amritsari Wadiyan 1 tennis ball-sized round, broken into pieces
Onion 2 medium-sized, finely chopped
Garlic 4-5 cloves
Green Capsicum 1, finely chopped
Fresh tomatoes 3 medium-sized, grated and peels saved for another use
Tomato puree 1 whole tetra pack
Sugar 1 tablespoon
Vinegar 2 tablespoons, plus more to adjust
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder 1 tsp
Mixed herbs 1 1/2 tsp
Chicken or Veg Stock 1/2 a stock cube
Dark chocolate 1 tbsp to finish
Sweet corn 1 packet, shucked 100g approximately
Chopped coriander 1 tablespoon to garnish
Sour cream to serve
Lime wedges to serve
Rice to serve
Begin by bringing a medium-sized pot to the flame and add the soaked red kidney beans. Pour enough water to cover the beans and bring to the boil covered. Once the water is boiling, salt the water and add to this the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Cook the soaked kidney beans covered over low heat for 30 minutes or till tender. You can do this in the pressure cooker for 3 whistles or 10-12 minutes too. When the rajma is fork tender, let it cool, to room temperature. Drain the liquid from the rajma but do not discard this. Dissolve the stock cube in this liquid and set aside.
In a small kadai, heat 2 out of the 4 tablespoons of oil over medium-high flame and fry the broken pieces of wadi in this oil very briefly (it will colour very fast), so just give it a few tosses in the oil and drain it using a slotted spoon onto paper towels. Then add these wadis to a bowl and cover them with recently boiled water to soften. This will ensure the wadis break down to a mince-like texture in the chili.
In a medium pan set over low heat for a few minutes, add the remaining vegetable oil and when that is hot, add the finely chopped onions and cook slowly till translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and capsicum and continue cooking slowly until the onions are so soft that the onion breaks when handled with your fingers. Add the freshly grated tomatoes, the puree, sugar, vinegar, cumin, chilli powder and bring it up to a boil letting it cook for 6-8 minutes over a medium flame.
Add the beans, the stock water of the beans as well as the soaked wadis to the pot and cook over low heat covered for 30 minutes at least, stirring every few minutes so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
Once the chili is nice and thick, adjust the salt and add some more vinegar if necessary. Microwave the shucked corn covered for 2 minutes or until ready. Stir this through the chilli. Add the dark chocolate and stir to dissolve which will instantly add depth to the chili so adjust again if necessary. Add some cracked black pepper to the top and serve garnished with chopped coriander. Serve with rice, lime wedges and sour cream.