Burnt Aubergine Vegetarian Chilli

We had Burnt Aubergine Chilli tonight. It’s not the first time that the word “burnt” has entered the conversation about my cookery, along with its synonyms – charred, scorched, over-cooked, cremated, incinerated and inedible. It is, however, the first time I’ve it’s been a deliberate choice.

The recipe is ‘low fat and four of your five a day,’ according to the website.

I didn’t quite follow the recipe – life is too short to cut carrots into tiny cubes, but I did use tinned tomatoes, red kidney beans, green lentils, onions and aubergine. As I recall, you can only count the beans and lentils as one portion, and it’s possible we have to discount the onions as not being a full portion. Call it 3Β½ portions, even without the carrots.

It wasn’t great, but to be fair to the recipe, I used it as a guide rather than a recipe.

I missed out the carrots because I’m lazy and some of the soy sauce because I’m an idiot (I forgot that a tablespoon is the really big one, not a dessert spoon – I’m always doing that). To be honest, I’m not sure that missing out a few mls of soy sauce was the main problem.

I also missed out the red lentils (replaced with extra green ones), the coriander and the cinnamon because I didn’t have any. (It turns out we did actually have cinnamon but ‘men can never see anything even when it’s straight in front of them’). Again, I’m not sure that missing out a few sprinkles of spice was a major problem.

The major problem may well have been that I was hungry, so I omitted the 800 ml of stock and most of the cooking time. I was using tinned lentils so it wasn’t as if they needed a lot of cooking. This may have deprived us of a great deal of flavour and texture. Or it may just have meant we ate sooner.

It was, as I say, not great. The spicing was quite hot, though acceptable by our modest standards, and the flavour was not as good as I would have liked. On the other hand, it wasn’t bad either. In truth, I’ve never really rated vegetarian chilli so I wasn’t particularly disappointed by the result. I will try it again and see how it goes.

Burnt Aubergine Chilli with brown rice

Burnt Aubergine Chilli with brown rice

The scorching of the aubergine skin, done using the garden flamethrower, did not produce the smoky flavour I was hoping for, though the discarded skin smelt reasonably smoky as it went into the compost.Β I was hoping for something spectacular for the photographs, but the camera seemed to filter the flame out.

Another problem is the chocolate. I used some of Julia’s hoard of 80% dark chocolate, thinking that if something is doing it is worth doing properly. It didn’t add anything to the taste, but when I mentioned it, it did add something to the conversation. I won’t go over the entire discussion, but Julia isn’t happy about the idea of me throwing her decent chocolate into a chilli. From the note of indignation in her voice you’d have thought I’d been using puppies, not chocolate.




36 thoughts on “Burnt Aubergine Vegetarian Chilli

  1. Pingback: Charred Red Pepper Dip | quercuscommunity

  2. Lavinia Ross

    Next time I am sure it will come out better, Quercus. I have eaten many of Rick’s experiments here, some better than others, although I would say he is an excellent cook overall. Many years back I did eat something he made with rice, onion and turmeric, that had these little black things in it. I just thought it was a new kind of spice. After I had eaten it, I asked him what the little black objects were. He said they were insects that had gotten into the rice, some kind of weevil. He hadn’t wanted to waste the rice. I looked at him and said I was the only person he would ever know in his entire life he could serve bug butts to and get away with it. Warning – do not try this at home on Julia. πŸ™‚

    1. quercuscommunity

      πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      That is one of those stories that is both hilarious and horrible. It is certainly not something I would dare to do.

      I’ll rephrase that. It’s not something I’d admit to. I would tell her it was wild rice.

      I did once eat flying ants when a swarm flew into my kitchen, but that was just me, I wasn’t cooking for anyone else.

      1. Lavinia Ross

        Many years back I came across a recipe for fried earthworms (never tried it, don’t intend to). One lets the worms tunnel and eat their way through a bowl of bread dough to clean them out, then they are washed, breaded and fried.

      2. quercuscommunity

        Interesting, I have always wondered about the soil since learning that people ate them. It’s similar to the process used when foraging for snails, though that is to ensure they don’t contain anything harmful to humans.

        I will, I think, give them a miss, but thanks for the information. πŸ™‚

      3. quercuscommunity

        I thought you would! We had a few bits and pieces like that when we were doing foraging on the farm. The group loved mealworms in chocolate. You can actually buy ground bugs as flour, though we left the farm before I got round to using any.

  3. tootlepedal

    In my orienteering days, we used to buy Wilf’s vegetarian chilli from his van at events. It was delicious so it is possible to make really good vegetarian chilli. Mind you, he was making in quantity so that probably helped.

  4. Helen

    Good to read a β€˜recipe’ post which is honest about the tussle to produce an edible dish. Sounds like an ingenious way to chat-grill the aubergine.


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