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Vegetarian Chili With An Indian Flare

Does your chili recipe need an updating? Try this Indian chili that includes asafetida, fennel and cumin seeds, and turmeric powder.


Veggie chili is a staple food in my family, particularly in winter. It is easy to make and tastes great on its own or with homemade bread and crackers.

It is a blessing to have veggie chili when you have a cold as it is packed with healthy ingredients that tickle your taste buds and help clear your upper respiratory system.

I soak beans overnight and cook them in a pressure cooker. Alternatively, you can use 1 can of organic, cooked beans.

If you like more liquid in your chili, add another cup of water with the beans. Add a dash of oregano or a few mint leaves for variety. I like to add a cup of mashed pumpkin or cooked, sweet potato instead of flour for that special, sweet taste that these vegetables bring in.


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • pinch asafetida*
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 pods garlic crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped red/yellow/green pepper
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes chopped
  • 4 sprigs cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups organic cooked beans [red, garbanzo, black, black-eyed, pinto]
  • 1 tablespoon rice flour/whole wheat flour mixed in ½ cup water
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon juice of lemon

*NOTE: Many people have never heard of the spice asafetida. It is sometimes called “Devil’s Dung” and tastes very strongly of onion and garlic, so use it sparingly. You can also substitute garlic powder or onion powder for asafetida.


  1. Heat half a table spoon of oil. Add cumin seeds, fennel and a pinch of asafetida.
  2. Now add chopped onion and garlic and roast till onion is slightly brown. Add chopped pepper, turmeric and a pinch of salt and stir for a few minutes till the pepper is a little soft.
  3. Add tomatoes, chopped cilantro and black pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add cooked beans, water and salt, stir well and let it boil for 10 minutes on medium heat. Reduce heat.
  5. Mix flour in half a cup of water to a smooth paste. Add this paste to the chili and cook further for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and mix in the lemon juice. Your Veggie Chili is ready!
Rama Cousik

Rama Cousik grew up in India, watching and helping her mom cook. The taste, the texture, and the way she feels when she eats seasonal vegetables and fruits are indescribable. Hence, no matter where she lives, the idea of seasonal food is an essential part of her food philosophy.

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