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Indian-Style Chili in Bread Bowls

From Modern Spice by Monica Bhide. Copyright 2009 by Monica Bhide. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Serves 4

Prep/Cook Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium red onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon store-bought ginger-garlic paste
  • One 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1⁄4 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon red chile powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • One 15- to 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 1⁄2 cups water
  • Four 1-pound round loaves sourdough bread at least 5 inches across
  • Table salt
  • Finely chopped onion and green chiles (optional) for garnish



  1. In a large lidded skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the cinnamon stick. When the stick begins to sizzle, add the onion and ginger-garlic paste. Sauté, stirring, until the onion is golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if the onion starts to stick to the pan.
  2. Add the tomatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the oil begins to leave the sides of the mixture.
  3. Add the beef and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spatula.
  4. Add the chile powder, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, and coriander. Mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the kidney beans and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the beef is cooked through.
  6. While the chili is cooking, prepare the bread bowls: Cut 1/2 inch off the top of each loaf. Gently scoop out the bread from inside the loaf, using care to leave a generous 3⁄4-inch shell intact.
  7. Once the chili is cooked, remove the cinnamon stick, spoon a cupful of chili into each bowl, salt to taste, garnish with onion and chiles (if using), and serve immediately.


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