My mom’s favourite western meal is Chili Con Carne with Rice. Well, apart from steak. And spaghetti with meatballs. And... Anyhow, we grew up on a lot of Chili (for short!). It is a wholesome, rich, fulfilling stew of meat and red (kidney) beans. Recently, I chanced upon a recipe for WHITE Chili on PW’s site. What is that, you might ask?!?!!! It’s the white version of Chili. Duh. But seriously, its a stew of chicken and white beans! I decided I HAD to try it since AK is definitely more of a Chicken than Red Meat person. I obviously modified it to use available ingredients...
Here’s what I used (for 8 people)
2 chicken breasts
1-1/2 cup black eyed peas (lobiya/ raungi/ chawli)
2 tbsp Cornmeal (makki ka atta – which I couldn’t get hold of anywhere because it’s the summer. Fortunately, my life-saver mother had a leftover packet from the winter!!)
1 cup (whole/ full fat) milk
2 onions, chopped
3-4 green chillies, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp roasted cumin (jeera) powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
Salt & pepper
Cilantro/ Coriander Leaves
First, I placed the beans in a pan and covered them with water. I let them soak all day, while I was at work...
By the time I returned, they had swollen and looked like this - almost triple their size and soft enough to split, if I was to press a bean between 2 fingertips.
I put the 2 chicken breasts in a pressure cooker, added about 8 cups of water along with ½ tsp of salt. I pressure cooked it until I got 1 whistle. Allowed it to cool a little and reserved all the water (chicken stock).
I then shredded the chicken (well my brother did. I should give him credit when due...!)
I heated about 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp oil in the (now washed) pressure cooker and added the chopped onions.
When they were pale and translucent, I added the chopped chillies and minced garlic.
Having stirred it for a minute, I added the drained beans and gave it all a good stir.
I then added the red chilli powder, cumin powder, 1 tsp salt and some fresh ground pepper and gave it a good stir...
Pictures from this part on are sparse. Sorry I was juggling too many things and AK sprained his ankle so couldn’t help with photos of this entire session...
Anyhow, I added 6 cups of the reserved chicken stock, stirred the mixture and put the lid on. I gave it one whistle and turned the heat off to allow it to cool enough that I could handle the cooker.
I let out the steam/ pressure, opened the lid and added the chicken. I cooked it on a slow fire for almost an hour. By this time, I was quite distressed that my white chilli looked red. Result of the red chilli powder...
Anyhow, I then took the cornmeal in a cup...
Added the milk to it and stirred it well to get rid of all the lumps...
I added this mix to the stew and let it cook for another 15 mins. And lo behold. My chilli wasn’t red anymore!!! Well, it wasn’t quite white, but I was happy with it.
To assemble, I poured it in a bowl. Grated some cheese on it. Sprinkled it with lots of cilantro/ coriander. Added a dollop of sour cream. Lastly, sprinkled some of my heaven (read Mom) sent fried onions!!
Served it with Mexican Rice, Corn Salad, Crispy Roasted Potatoes and Pico de Gallo!!
Note on the Sour Cream: so we don’t really get sour cream easily here. So I used my Mom’s method. I took a few tbsp of cream/ top-of-the-milk in a small dish with a lid. Added a tsp of homemade curd/ yoghurt to it. Mixed it gently, covered and left it in a warm place all day. When I needed it, I whipped it up with a beater for about 2 mins and voila!!