Thursday, January 15, 2009

1001 Easy Vegan Chili ( Spicy Bean Stew)

Replace the animal protein with plant protein in a meat based chili and you get a vegan chili.

This cookbook lists 10 different beans / lentils, which are combined with 10 flavouring agents and ten additives to create a thousand vegan chili recipes, numbered from 000 to 999.

 The base
Only a handful of beans / lentils are commonly used in chili. But we now have acces to  a huge variety of  other beans / lentils any of which can be used as a base. When in season, you can experiment with using  fresh beans / lentils. All beans can be sprouted and you can try using them in place of dry beans.  The quick cooking lentils, so popular in Indian cuisine, need no pre soaking and can be used to whip up a bowl of chili fast.  Larger beans however,  need to be soaked overnight.

 The flavouring
Cumin, onion and garlic form the basic flavouring. A couple of pinches of the mild Kashmiri chili powder can be used to lend a deep reed color to the chili. A variety of other flavouring listed in column 2 can also be used.

 The additives
A variety of vegetables as listed in column 3 can be cooked along with the beans to cook up a huge array of chili.

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Okay, let me start from the very beginning. 1500 crore years ago, with a Big Bang, the Universe is born. It expands dramatically. Hydrogen forms, contracts under gravity and lights up, forming stars. Some stars explode, dusting space with the building blocks of life. These condense into planets, one of which is Earth. Over time, self replicating molecules appear, multiply and become more complex. They create elaborate survival machines (cells, plants, animals). A variety of lifeforms evolve. Soon, humans arise, discover fire, invent language, agriculture and religion. Civilisations rise and fall. Alexander marches into India. Moguls establish an empire. Britain follows. Independence. Partition. Bloodshed. The license raj is in full sway. I'm born. India struggles to find its place. Liberalisation. The Internet arrives! I move from Tirupur to Chennai. Start a company. Expand into Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East. Poof! Dot com bust. Funding dries up. Struggle. Retire. Discover the joy of cooking, giving, friendships and the pleasures of a simple life. Life seems less complicated. Pizza Republic, Pita Bite and Bhojan Express bloom !

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