What's Cooking (in Yvonne's Kitchen)?

I've changed the name of this blog to What's Cooking (in Yvonne's Kitchen) because I will be getting a kitchen of my own very soon, it maybe small but will be able to produce more goodies to share with everyone!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chili Con Carne

Serves 6

To me, chili is best eaten with nacho chips or even on its own.

I have first come to know and eat chili con carne when I was in US. Known as chili in short, it is a Mexican food that has southern charm and is widely popular in Mexican restaurants in US. Though I wasn’t crazy about it back then, I do crave for it once in a blue moon.

Chili is a scrumptious beef stew that is well-complimented by fresh vegetables, spices and chilies. It is a highly versatile dish that can also be made vegetarian*. Originally, chili is made with various types of Mexican chilies/peppers such as jalapeno, serrano, ancho, sapilla, etc. Because these chilies are not readily available in Malaysia, so I improvised the recipe by replacing them with ground cayenne, red pepper flakes (those we sprinkle on pizzas), fresh chili and bird-eyed chili (cili padi) . The result is a 3-chili level of spiciness; however the spicy level can also be adjusted to individual liking.

The spices and herb that give a wholesome southern kick to chili.

Besides the spices and herb, another secret ingredient that really gives a depth of flavour to chili is chocolate. Do not get carry away by throwing the whole bar of chocolate into the pot no matter how choco-holic you might be because you don't want to turn this savoury dish into a dessert. One tablespoon of chocolate is about thumb-size.

I would call this a fool-proof recipe as it does not require culinary skills other than chopping, stirring and seasoning, but a good heavy bottom pot or a slow cooker** would be a bonus in preparing this dish.

So far, I have made this dish three times in portion big enough for two and extra to freeze (so I can have home-cooked chili anytime I want). Somehow, I have always managed to finish the whole pot of this southern goodness in a day or two, either by myself or my colleagues.

Here’s my chili recipe, specially for my lovely friend, Genevieve. I hope you will enjoy preparing, cooking and slurping it as much as I do. Bon appétit, dearie!


4 tbsp

olive oil


yellow onions, chopped

2 cloves

garlic, minced


carrot, chopped finely


celery, chopped finely


red capsicum, chopped finely

2 cups

minced meat, preferably beef (about 500g)

1 cup

tomato paste

1 tsp

ground cumin

½ tsp

ground cayenne

½ tsp

red pepper flakes

½ tsp

dried oregano


fresh bird-eyed chili, chopped


fresh red chili, chopped finely

1 cup

stock, preferably beef

1 cup

cooked or canned kidney beans, drained

1 tsp


salt and pepper to taste

fresh coriander leaves, chopped



In a heavy-bottom pot, heat the oil in slow fire, sauté the chopped onion until soft, about 2 minutes, add in the minced garlic and sauté for another minute, but do not brown (or the garlic will taste bitter)


At medium heat, add in the chopped carrot, celery and capsicum, stir constantly until they are tender, about 4-5 minutes


Add in the minced meat and cook until it is just cooked and it’s no longer pink in colour


In a bowl, add cumin, cayenne, red pepper flakes and oregano into the tomato paste, mix well. Then, pour the tomato mixture into the pot.


Add in the fresh chilies, stock, kidney beans and chocolate, stir until all ingredients are combined


Cover the pot with a lid, bring it to a boil, about 10 minutes


Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper


Serve it immediately or the next day (which tastes even better) with freshly chopped coriander leaves and a generous dollops of sour cream, plain yoghurt or shredded cheddar cheese for gooey goodnes


**For vegetarian chili, replace minced meat with 2 cups or 250 g of chickpeas and beef stock with vegetarian stock

***To make this in a slow cooker, transfer all the ingredients to a slow cooker after step 3. Let the pot slow cook for about 3 – 4 hours or until all ingredients are tender

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