Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vegetarian Chilli Con Soya

Vegetarian Chilli? Sounds contradictory, huh? Well, not really. Soya Granules or what is sold in many health stores as texturised vegetable protein makes the perfect substitute for this spicy dish, the original recipe of which is Chilli Con Carne or chilli with meat and calls for minced meat.

This is a recipe that I put together after I discovered a box of soya granules in the pantry of our home on returning from my travels. My husband had seen them at our local desi (Indian) store and as he remembered them from his childhood, he purchased them on a whim! This happened a couple of years ago and since then I have discovered that vegetarian cilli is actually a very popular dish. However I have been both surprised and excited to see the number and types of ingredients that are used as a substitute for the meat. These include chilli with mixed vegetables and beans, firm tofu, lentils, potatoes, beets, and grape nuts!!

Having experimented with a couple of these more recently, I think that vegetarian chilli tastes best with the soya granules. This is because the granules act as a sponge and absorb the seasonings and sauce very well. Moreover they give the chilli a great texture and body which goes really well with rice or noodles.

11/2 cups dry soya granules
1 large onion, chopped fine
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 small can tomato paste
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 tsp rosemary (dried)
1/2 tsp Italian herbs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chilli powder
3-4 green chillies (for those that like that extra zing)
Salt, to taste

  1. Soak the soya granules in cold water for at least half an hour or until soft. Drain, and squeeze the excess water out of them.
  2. In a large non-stick pan, heat 1 tbsp of the oil. Add the garlic and fry until golden brown. Then add the onions and fry till they are transparent.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil, and then the drained soya granules. On a medium heat fry the granules for around 2 minutes. Add the rosemary, herbs, and tomato paste. Blend well.
  4. Pour 2 cups of water into this and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Now add the chilli powder, salt, green chillies, and kidney beans. Mix well, add a little extra water if needed, and simmer on low for another 10 minutes.
  5. Adjust seasonings. Serve hot with rice or spaghetti noodles.
Good to Know
  • You can also prepare the soya granules according to the recommendation on their package. However for this recipe I prefer them soaked, not pre-cooked.
  • This recipes is seasoned to be deliciously hot for eating with plain rice or noodles. However if you plan to use the Chili for Taco filling, I recommend reducing the chili by at least half.

Vegetarian Chilli Con Soya is my entry to JFI Soya hosted this August by Sia of Monsoon Spice.

Vegan Recipe

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  1. Nice twist using soya. Loved the color of the gravy. Looks delicious.

  2. brillient recipe idea :) thanks for sending this hot-hot recipe :)

    1. Thanks Sia! I love the texture that soya granules give to this version chili!!


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