Vegetarian Chili

This recipe was created by David George, and published in The Herb Companion, February/March, 1996 p . 21

Vegitative Chili


1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup tamari

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon cardomom


Main Ingredients:

1 lb fresh firm tofu, cubed into bite size chomps

1 large onion diced

1 teaspoon or more minced garlic

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

1 large can red kidney beans drained (save juice)

1 large can black beans (save juice)

1 big can crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons basil

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Step 1. Put the cubed tofu in the marinade, preferably a glass bowl with plastic sealing lid so that the tofu + marinade can be shaken and evenly coat the tofu.  The longer the tofu soaks, the deeper the marinade seeps into the tofu.  For a fresh taste, add a cup of cranberry or orange juice to the marinade, also horseradish and  a pinch of tumeric – under

a half teaspoon!  Tumeric is anti-inflamatory, good for human skeleton.

Then you saute the onion, garlic and dry spices in a big cast iron fry pan or similar large skillet (with the little dab of oil listed with the spices) – ideally the mustard seed will pop like popcorn (medium high heat) so use a lid! Now before anything burns, but after the onions go limp and translucent, scoop in the marinated tofu with marinade if it isn’t too much liquid.

The heat should still be medium, but you will probably want to reduce after the mustard seed has popped.  Of course, you can omit the mustard seed too.  If the fry pan is well seasoned, the tofu should start to form a crust. Expect some to stick and scrape back with a metal spatula  to keep the tofu loose and browning on all sides. The next object is to bring all the tofu up to temp while not too gently browning the sides of the tofu cubes. This can take as long as 15 minutes. When the heat is right around medium-low,  the fu will not stick too much as it browns and you can flip it every two or three minutes. If some of the cubes go the way of the Berlin wall – not too worry.

The tofu can be served at this point as a flavorful cubes over rice with vegetables.

Or proceed with the chili —

Take the brief time between tofu flips to mix the rest of the goods in a stew pot, pressure cooker or slow cooker. When the tofu meets with your satisfaction, or you’re sick of flipping it, go ahead and toss it in the chili.

Cook slowly over low heat for at least two hours.  Test for flavor and consistency.  Add liquid if necessary as the cooking proceeds.




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