The vegan chili recipe in the archive has white beans, oyster mushrooms, eggplants and bell peppers. It was good — chunky, tasty and full of texture — and, as with any good recipe, I wondered if I could declare it a “keeper” and stop tweaking.
But I did. Tweak the recipe, I mean. I tried using other mushroom varieties, I experimented by adding small pieces of cauliflower, I made a version once that was more of a thick soup rather than a stew. And they were all wonderful with each having a distinct personality, so to speak.
The best vegan chili I made, however, was not cooked with beans but with lentils. That probably doesn’t qualify it as a chili… it might be more of a South Asian lentil stew but the spices and the seasonings I used were not very South Asian at all. So, it’s a hybrid. A very delicious hybrid so chunky — chunkier than the version with white beans — that I could scoop it with a piece of bread, Indian style. And just what made this lentil chili wonderfully chunky?
The mixed lentils.
I found a bag of mixed lentils at Rustan’s Antipolo. The “mix” consists of split
lentils peas and lentils in different colors plus wheat grains. I normally don’t bother soaking lentils before cooking but since wheat grains take longer to cook, I decided to follow the package directions and soaked the mixture overnight in the fridge before cooking the lentil chili.
Reading the following before diving into the recipe might be helpful:
Drain the lentils.
Heat the olive oil in a pot. Saute the garlic, onion, chilies, oregano and thyme with a bit of salt and pepper.
Add the bell peppers and continue sautéing for a minute.
Pour in the tomato sauce, Sriracha and the drained lentils.
Season with salt and pepper, and a little sugar to cut the acidity of the tomato sauce.
Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the mixture is thick and the lentils are done. Taste the sauce, adjust the seasonings, if needed.
To make the lentil chili omelet for one person, you need: an egg, grated Parmesan, finely sliced scallions, grated cheese (other than Parmesan, for contrast) and snipped parsley.
Beat the egg and fry just until done. Transfer to a plate. Place about two heaping tablespoonfuls of cooled lentil chili across the middle. Sprinkle with Parmesan and scallions.
Roll the egg to form a log. Sprinkle the rolled omelet with grated cheese and parsley. Serve with plain buttered or French toast.