Sunday, July 14, 2013


Vegan chili

Today, July 14th, is a sad one. Even on this sweltering hot day, I felt very, very cold as I read about the verdict of Trayvon Martin's trial, the unexpected death of Cory Monteith, and the situation over in Texas. I generally shy away from heavy topics like death but I feel that my Sunday thoughts are worth writing about.

I ask for your prayers to the families of young Martin and of talented and sweet Monteith. Even though I didn't even personally know them, I know that losing someone you love sucks the life right out of you. For a few days, even week, denial overtakes you. "I'll see him later. After break is over. Later, later." Memories are all that play in your mind. Regrets. Things you wished you have said or done. You can't focus on anything. I can tell you, from experience, that is a terrible, terrible feeling. And all we can do is send good vibes. So, send them, please.

Like Molly Wizenberg once said, "There's no smooth transition to be made from talking about death to discussing Thai food. Let's wing it."

There's no smooth transition to be made from talking about to death to discussing chili. Let's wing it.

Vegan chili

After I sat at my computer, reminiscing about my own experiences facing deaths of loved ones, I got up. I needed warmth.

So, I made a vegan chili. The spice dances on the tip of your tongue after you swallow the beans and corn and tomatoes. The flavors awaken your palate. It's a lovely mess of flavors. I like it a lot.

Vegan Chili 
A Little Kimbap original recipe
Serves 4

For the first time in a long stretch of time, I used what I thought was right. The ketchup and mustard are unconventional but, I believe, are necessary to this dish. I also used what I had in the house (gochujang, sake) but you can use what you have. Chile en adobo, white wine... 

1/2 large white onion
1 large garlic clove
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. gochujang (Korean red pepper paste, I used my grandma's homemade gochujang.)
2 T. ketchup
1 T. mustard
1/8 t. ground cumin
1/8 c. sake
1 1/2 c. grape tomatoes, sliced in half, horizontally
1 c. grape tomatoes, diced finely, with all the juices
3 c. red kidney beans, soaked and boiled until tender
1 c. sweet corn kernels (I used one very large steamed corn-on-the-cob and cut off all the kernels.)

Chop the onion and mince the garlic clove. Saute the onion in a hot saucepan, with canola oil, until transluscent. Add a hefty pinch of salt. Add the garlic and saute some more. Add your tomato paste, gochujang, ketchup, mustard, and cumin and mix thorougly, until all the onions are covered in a red paste. Deglaze with the sake.

Add the tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes until the juices of the tomatoes are released. Add in the kidney beans and corn and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve warm over brown rice. Enjoy immediately.

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