It’s shocking how similar the Tex-Mex ground meat preparation ‘Chili con Carne’ is, to an Indian ‘Kheema’.
These two mouthwatering servings from different worlds might as well be long lost siblings. ‘Chili con Carne’ or just a good ole bowl of mouthwatering ‘Chili’ as us Texans call it, translates to ‘chili pepper with meat’ and uses a base of onion-garlic- tomato and spices like ground red chili pepper and cumin, similar to the delicious spicy Indian ‘Kheema’ preparation.
Perhaps one of the most defining differences is the use of kidney beans in a Chili, whereas an Indian Kheema is usually served as-is or with added vegetables like potatoes or peas. Furthermore, an authentic Chili uses ground beef while an Indian Kheema is traditionally made with ground lamb.
Chili is a perennial Texan classic and a huge favorite especially at this time of year in America. It’s customary to serve steaming bowlfuls of Chili topped with sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped red onion and lemon on ‘Super Bowl Sunday’ (Feb. 3rd this year,) an annual American-football event causing the same nation-wide fan frenzy as a ‘Cricket’ match in India or ‘Football/Soccer’ game in Europe.
Our ‘Chili’ recipe kicks it up a notch, drawing its inspiration from flavors in an Indian Kheema. The surprise addition of seasonal Brussels sprouts to our version is another unique touch, making sure everyone goes back for seconds…
Before cooking this flavorful pot of Chili; check us out on Pocket Change, a resource-filled and informative website. This week, ‘Peri’s Spice Ladle’ has been featured on their Best of the Web series.
Tex-Mex ‘Chili’ Inspired by Indian ‘Kheema’
Serves 4 (recipe can be doubled)
1 lb ground/minced meat; of your choice (we use turkey)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic (3-4 garlic cloves)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground red chili or Cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup dark or light red kidney beans, cooked or canned
8-10 pieces/4 oz. Brussels sprouts, cut in quarters*
2 cups tomato puree/sauce/crushed/strained
3 cups stock or water
½ teaspoon Garam Masala
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Juice of one lemon/lime
*Add your own choice of vegetables from potatoes and peas to zucchini, bell pepper or even edamame.
Toppings and Garnish:
Chopped red onion
(cheddar or Mexican blend works best)
Cooked basmati rice
Chopped scallion/spring onion
Sliced Serrano pepper or Jalapeno
Chives, finely chopped
In a heavy bottom pan, heat canola oil and crackle the cumin seeds in it. Brown chopped onion and ground/minced meat of choice in this cumin-infused oil for 5-7 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger, cooking for a few more minutes.
Sprinkle ground spices and salt over the meat mixture and let them blend well with the meat, adding a little stock or water if required.
Next step is to add the kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, tomato puree/sauce and stock or water. Let the chili cook covered for 7-10 minutes based on the type of ground/minced meat. Check for salt and consistency of the chili, it should not be too soupy or completely dried out.
To finish the preparation, sprinkle Garam Masala, chopped cilantro and the juice of a lemon/lime. Cook for a minute and leave the Chili covered till ready to serve.
Best Way to Serve Chili:
Use deep bowls (like a cereal bowl) or soup plates to ladle out our steaming hot Tex-Mex Chili, inspired by an Indian Kheema. The toppings and garnish are generally laid out in a self-serve fashion, so each person can tailor the comforting Chili to their individual taste.