Indian Chili

I have had a serious craving for Indian food lately. I mean like a really bad craving. Unfortunately there are not a whole lot of Indian restaurants near where I live, so I had to take matters into my own hands and come up with what I am calling Indian chili. I call it that as while my wife, daughter, and I were eating it my wife had asked what the dish was called. I had no clue, but it was hearty, comforting, and truly delicious, plus it was on a Sunday, a day where I normally make chili, so I coined it Indian chili.

Indian Chili Recipe
Indian Chili Recipe

The recipe has everything I love about Indian food, and is loaded with two types of beans, making it a healthy choice for weeknight meals.

Lets get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of red lentils, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
  • 1 cup of red beans, soaked in warm water for 45 minutes
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small potato, diced
  • 1 whole carrot, finely diced
  • 1 red chili, seeds removed, finely diced
  • 2 bonless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped
  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • salt to taste
  • whole cashews, optional
  • Naan, warmed, optional
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, divided
  • salt to taste

Start by straining your lentils and beans, and pick out any rocks if you see them. I rarely do, but some times they slip in.

Next, heat a large pot, enough to hold all of this madness, and heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add in the onions, potatoes, and carrots, and cook until the onion begins to soften. Once softened, add in the ginger, garlic, and chili. Once the garlic perfumes your kitchen, toss in the lentils and beans, and give a good stir. Cook this on medium heat for a couple of minutes, then increase the heat to medium-high and add in the chicken stock. Next add in the chicken, cover, reducing the heat to medium-low, and cook until the red beans have softened, about 1 1/2 hours.

Once the beans have softened, get another small skillet set on medium-high heat, and add the remaining oil.

Indian Chili Ingredients
Indian Chili Ingredients

Once the oil shimmers, get the lid ready to cover, and toss in the mustard seeds. Quickly cover as those seeds are going to start dancing and the oil is going to start popping. Once the seeds pop, add in the turmeric, paprika, and cumin, giving a nice stir. After about 20 seconds of stirring, scoop all of that mixture into the chili pot and give that a good stir. Cook the chili for about another 10 minutes, allowing all of those awesome spices to infuse the chili.

Season the chili with a generous pinch of salt, stir, and taste. If it needs more salt, and it may, feel free to add more.

Ladle the Indian chili into a bowl, sprinkle with cashews, and serve with warm naan.

Talk about a great spin on Indian food, and the comfort of chili, this one is it. If you are looking for a great weekend meal to prepare, and one that gets better for leftovers, give this one a shot. Hope you enjoy!

New Mexico Hatch Chile Pork

Recently our local grocery store began selling New Mexican Hatch chiles, something I have been wanting for many, many years. Granted I have made plenty of chili over the last ten years or so, but I have always been wanting the Hatch chili. To me, it is a bit like any other. I remember it clearly when we vacationed in New Mexico back in high school. The Hatch chili is crisp, spicy, and offers an awesome brightness. So when I found out the grocery store was finally selling these, I was bound and determined to make some real New Mexico style Hatch green chile with pork.

This chili is not only easy to make, yields a ton, and has plenty for leftovers, but it was one that had just that right amount of heat.

Hatch Chili Pork Recipe
Hatch Chili Pork Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs pork shoulder, fat trimmed, cut into cubes
  • 1 lb New Mexican Hatch Green Chiles, lightly oiled
  • Charcoal fire or broiler
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp salt, more to taste
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 6 large tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed

That’s it. Simple ingredients.

Start by charring your Hatch chilies. I do this on my grill, flipping when the chilies get nice and charred, and softened. Once softened and charred, remove the chilies and place them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or plastic zip lock bag, allowing them to steam, and ensuring that the exterior skin is easily removed.

After about 10 minutes, remove the chilies, and peel away the exterior charred skin. Cut off the top stem, and remove the seeds from the inside of the chilies. Discard the seeds, then roughly chop the Hatch chilies. Set them to the side.

Hatch Green Chili Pork Ingredients
Hatch Green Chili Pork Ingredients

Next, take your onion, cilantro, tomatillos, Hatch chilies and garlic and add them to a food processor. Pulse down until you have a smooth sauce.

Season the cubed pork with salt and pepper, then heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the canola oil, then add the pork in batches. Your goal is to get a nice sear on the exterior of the cubed pork shoulder. Turn the pork to get all sides nice and seared. Once seared, remove to a bowl, and repeat with the remaining pork.

To a slow cooker (please feel free) or large pot, add the pork, as well as the onion mixture. Cook low and slow until the pork is super tender. I did mine in a slow cooker for 8 hours (a perfect thing to do when you head to work).

When you are ready to serve, ladle the Hatch green chili pork into a serving bowl, get some warm tortillas or ladle over an easy cooked egg, and you are ready for a game changer. I added some cannellini beans towards the end of my cook process, but that is only optional.

I was blown away. Seriously. This chili was perfect. It had great heat, great citrus flavor, and screamed comfort all around. If you have access to Hatch chilies, try them. Now I am heading back to buy some more before they are all gone. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Curry Mussels

It was not too long ago when fresh mussels were on sale at one of our local grocery stores. In the past, I typically would buy them frozen, then steam them but as they were fresh, I decided I would go all in. It was my kids last day of school, and I figured I would throw it out there and see if they would be keen on the idea of having them as an end of year celebration. Low and behold they did and I decided to buy a few pounds of mussels. What’s funny is that one of my pickiest of eaters (he’s getting much better) was stoked about eating them. So I arrived home, and got to work. At first I thought I would do a simple wine and butter sauce to steam the mussels in, but then I quickly turned my attention to making a killer Thai curry and coconut broth, introducing something a bit different to them. These Thai curry mussels had just the right amount of heat that did not distract from the flavor of the mussels, and my kid ate a ton of them.

Thai Curry Mussels
Thai Curry Mussels

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 can of Thai green curry paste
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 lbs fresh mussels

Simple stuff here, and feel free to use other types of curry paste. I used the prik king curry paste from Maesri which is a spicy ginger style of curry paste, and one that I really like, but feel free to use their red or yellow paste if you have that in stock.

To a large pot, large enough to house the mussels, get the heat going on medium heat. Add the canola oil and bring it to a light smoke, only a couple of minutes, then add in the green curry paste. Stir, and cook for a couple of minutes. Next add in the coconut milk, and water, and stir to incorporate and break down the curry paste. Once this comes to a simmer, add in the mussels.

Make sure that all of the mussels are closed, and feel free to scrub off any exterior beard material from the mussels ahead of time should they not already be cleaned.

Thai Curry Mussels
Thai Curry Mussels

Stir the mussels into the coconut curry mixture, then cover, and cook and steam the mussels until they all open up.

Please note, that any mussels that do not open up, then discard.

Once the mussels are all opened, pour the mussels and broth into a large serving bowl and dig in.

Feel free to serve these with some nice crusty bread, or spoon the broth over some cooked jasmine rice.

It was funny watching my oldest go to town on these. He could not stop eating them, and he loved the spice from the broth. These Thai curry mussels were a great way to end the school year that’s for certain. Hope you enjoy!

Filipino Bicol Express

It has been weird in some ways not sharing a weekly recipe creation with all of you. Fortunately, however, my family was able to disconnect (well except for my kids and their darn devices) and take a week long road trip. Where you may ask? Tennessee, the whole state and wow was it a blast. I think, and I hope we got so much in during the week. I went down on a mission, a different one than my wife and probably kids for that matter, and that was to try some of the best barbecue and fried chicken I have ever had; hands down ever. In summary Rendezvous ribs and barbecue nachos, Gus’s Fried Chicken, Peg Leg Barbecue ribs (got the last rack and it was only noon (they opened at 11)), and Hatti B’s Nashville hot chicken. So with that said, I’m ready to share with you a great recipe, and one that has some heat to it, much like Hatti B’s!

Bicol Express is a Filipino dish that finally has some heat to it. Don’t get me wrong here, I love pretty much any Filipino dish that has come my way, but I’m always questioning in my mind ‘Do they not use any heat when cooking?’.

This is the perfect answer to that question. I love how the Filipino’s use vinegar, garlic, and lots of black pepper in some of their dishes, and that is right up my alley, but this recipe has me. It’s a stew with very simple ingredients. It’s comforting. It has the perfect heat, and is great served alongside rice.

Filipino Bicol Express Recipe
Filipino Bicol Express Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 lb pork belly, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 4 tbsp roasted shrimp paste (this stuff stinks but brings such umami)
  • 1 whole onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 14 fresh chilies (Thai Bird, Indian Green Chile, or Serrano) of your choice, stems removed, chiles sliced in half
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • cooked rice, optional

Start by heating a medium sized pot (you will cook everything in this pot) on medium heat, then add the oil. Once the oil comes to temperature, add in the cubed pork belly.

Cook the pork belly, turning along the way, until all sides become browned.

Once the pork is browned, add in the onions, garlic, and ginger. Give a good stir, and continue to cook for about 3 minutes or so.

Next add in the shrimp paste. Turn on your vent on high as this stuff has some funk (good funk), and continue to stir. Toss in the chilies, stir again, then add in the coconut milk.

How to make Filipino Bicol Express
How to make Filipino Bicol Express

Bring this to a simmer, and cook for about 1 hour, on low, stirring along the way.

Before serving, taste and season with any salt or pepper.

Now you are ready to dig in. I like to serve with a small bowl of rice to the side, along with a soup bowl of the Bicol Express. This dish is rich, creamy, spicy, funky, and overall totally comforting and right up my alley. Don’t be scared of the chiles as you can eat around them. The chilies overall bring that subtle heat to the dish overall, but if you are searching for a bit of that chili punch when eating, go ahead and bite into them! Hope you enjoy, and it’s great to be back!