In my house, no one likes kidney beans but me. Which makes me the weird one out, and it also means that when I cook rajma or chili, I get no takers but me. However, yesterday, I woke up with sniffles, sneezed through the first half of the day, and felt better only after a big bowl of chicken soup with mushrooms and sixteen Kotheys from The Blue Poppy, along with a big bowl of their fiery hot sauce. For those who are uninitiated, Kothey is essentially pot stickers made with Momos. So they are half-fried, half-steamed and comes with a crispy bottom.
I love crispy bottoms.
Please don’t take it otherwise.
Anyhoo, I had soaked some kidney beans the night before, and I wanted to make rajma. Unfortunately, I had run out of rajma masala and a lot of other ingredients in my kitchen, so I ditched the plan. A quick hunt through my pantry and fridge revealed a couple of Chicken sausages, a single chicken breast of around 200 gm. weight, a pack of tomato puree, a head of garlic, a couple of onions and some cilantro, and a few Maggi stock cubes. Thoughtfully, I started making my Chili, improvising as I went forward.
|Chicken Chili with Bread.|
Mince the chicken. I did it with my trusty cleaver, but you can get pre-minced chicken, and it is a good thing too. I wanted the chicken mince chunky, so I kept mostly large pieces, but this recipe of chicken chili goes well with both fine mince and chunky mince. Add a dash of salt and pepper to it, and keep in the fridge inside a closed container till the time comes for it to be cooked.
|Cooked Kidney Beans|
Cook the kidney beans. I put the beans in a pressure cooker with the soaking liquid, which was around a cup of liquid, and a cup of chicken stock (made with one chicken stock cube and a cup of water). I added 6-7 cloves of garlic, whole but peeled, a tablespoon of chopped onions, and covered the pressure cooker, fitting the lid in tightly. Once the cooker came under full pressure over high heat, and released the first whistle, I turned the heat down to a simmer, and let the pressure cooker be for fifteen minutes. Then, I turned off the heat altogether, and let the cooker cool down. Once the cooker released all the pressure, open the lid, and check the beans. They would be soft, but not too soft. That is good. Mash a bit of this lightly.
|Frying Chicken Mince|
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a thick-bottomed vessel. I recommend using any oil with high smoke point and no discernible smell, like Canola oil, Rice Bran oil, Soybean oil, or Sunflower oil. You can also use olive or peanut oil. Add the chicken mince and cook over high heat, stirring all the time, to break the mince down and brown it evenly. Once the meat is no longer pink and starting to brown, push it on one side of the pan, and add 1/2 cup chopped onions to the pan.
|After adding tomato puree|
Stir fry the onions in the pan, and once they are cooked, stir in with the chicken, frying over high heat for another 3-4 minutes, or till the onions are well-fried. Add 2 teaspoon cumin powder, 2 teaspoon sweet paprika or cayenne pepper or Kashmiri chilli powder, and 1 teaspoon dried oregano. You can also use Italian seasoning instead of dried oregano. Stir fry well, and add 200 ml. tomato puree. Tomato puree will give this chili the balance and the color, which is lovely. Add a couple of chicken sausages if you want, chopped into small pieces. You can omit them, but well, I had them, and I threw them in. They were lovely.
|nutmeg on a grater|
Once the tomato puree is no longer raw, and oil separates from it, add the beans. Stir well, add half a teaspoon of crushed pepper, half of a nutmeg, grated, and cook for 20 minutes, covered and simmered, after the beans come to a boil. Add water or chicken stock, as required, to adjust fluidity (depending on how soupy you want your chili to be).
Meanwhile, contemplate your adornment of choice. My choice would be sour cream, grated cheese, chopped raw onions and cilantro, but sky is the limit for you. Bacon bits? Spring onion greens? Chopped celery? Cheese spread? All of it, and more. Top it whichever way you like it, and eat. I like toasting a couple of slices of bread, and serving the chili with it. The best thing is, I ate it twice. Once last night, and now, and I find that the flavors have developed and it tastes better a day afterwards. This also freezes excellently, so you can easily make a big batch, fill small ziploc bags with the cooled chili mixture and throw it inside the freezer. When you need to eat some, just take a bag out and reheat.