Sunday, November 15, 2015

Recipe: Madras Beef Chili

I got invited to participate in a chili cook-off. The top prize was bragging rights among a group of friends. I only made chili once before but have been making curries for a number of years so I wondered about combining the 2. A search of the internet yielded...not much. So I made my own recipe.

Did I win the chili cook-off? As things turned out, the group of friends had so much fun just hanging out they forgot to judge it. So everyone wins! Or not. It was fun regardless.

This chili combines the rich flavors of a Madras-style curry with satisfying comfort of a chili. The base recipe below is flavorful without destroying your palate with spice. Add more or less cayenne pepper to control the heat. The chili reheats very well.

Madras Beef Chili

4 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
4 tsp freshly grated ginger
5 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp butter
2 shallots
2 lbs ground beef (80/20)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (unflavored)
3 cups beef stock (more or less depending on humidity and moisture content of other ingredients)
2 large white potatoes, peeled, 1 inch dice
4 medium carrots, peeled, 1/2 inch dice
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
cayenne pepper to taste (start with 1 tsp and work add more as needed)
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper, chili, ginger, and lemon juice. It should form a paste. Set aside. 
  2. Stirring constantly, heat the butter in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium to high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring constantly, until they're translucent. Turn up the heat to high, add the beef and a few pinches of salt, and cook until browned.
  3. Reduce the heat back to medium, add the spice paste from Step 1, mix well, and cook for 1-2 minutes. 
  4. Add tomato paste, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and stock. Add more of the stock so that the vegetables are covered, if necessary. 
  5. Add curry powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine. 
  6. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Simmer 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes thicken the chili.  
  7. Serve with bread, rice, corn chips, cheese, and/or Fritos. Serve with hot sauce on the side so that others can add more heat, if necessary.

Servings: 4-6 as a meal.

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