1. Pick through the red beans and remove any debris. Thoroughly rinse the beans in cold water. Soak the beans overnight in a large bowl filled with water.

2. Drain off the water in which the beans soaked. Rinse. In a large pot over high heat, combine the beans, 3 cups of the water, turmeric and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes. Skim off any form that appears on top of the water. Drain (do not rinse) and discard the bay leaves.

3. One by one, place the onion, carrots, bell pepper and celery in a food processor and pulse until chopped to the fineness you prefer. Set aside.

4. Place the garlic, ginger and chiles in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.

5. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrots, bell pepper and celery; fry, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, ginger and chiles; continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, oregano, red chile powder, salt, black pepper and tomato paste. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring often. Add a few tablespoons of water if the mixture becomes too thick.

6. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and red beans and 3 cups of water. More water can be added to get the desired consistency. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Stir in the sugar to reduce the acidic taste. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour or until the beans are tender. Stir in the chopped cilantro.

​7. Fill each bowl with a generous serving of the Chili. Garnish with chopped cilantro, chopped green onions and a dollop of plain yogurt.

Vegetarian Chili with Small Red Beans [Indian Fusion RECIPE]

This recipe was created very quickly for a chili cook-off last month at my husband’s office. I could not resist the challenge of creating something unique for his team. After an hour or so with pen and paper I had a draft recipe for Indian Vegetarian Chili with Small Red Beans. The beans I used for this recipe look like red kidney beans but are a fraction of the size and have a firm texture and buttery flavor. They are among my favorite beans to use in cooking. 

I could not turn over an untested recipe so I went to work the next morning to create a batch of my virtual chili. Little did I know that I really had to prepare six batches in order to have 3 gallons of chili for the competition. My kitchen was filled with various bowls filled with the special Indian small red beans that had to soak overnight and various pots on the stove cooking the beans. After eight hours of late night cooking, the chili was finally finished and the recipe tweaked.

The Indian Vegetarian Chili with Small Red Beans recipe won an award at the cook-off. The day was a success. Try this recipe at home. It is easy to make and full of flavor. Did I mention that it is low in fat and calories? Enjoy!


1 cup dried small red beans
2 bay leaves
1 pinch turmeric
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
​6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2-inch piece ginger, chopped
2 Serrano chiles, chopped
3 Tbs oil
1 1/2 Tbs ground cumin
2 1/2 Tbs ground coriander
1/2 Tbs dried oregano
1 tsp red chile powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
​1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, chopped