With winter dragging on, the traditional stews and soups of the season are most likely growing tiresome. Here are 10 snazzy ways to spice up your palette. Add any of these odd ingredients to a typical vegetarian chili for a special, and delicious, twist.
While you are cooking, why not use the remaining tomato juice to make a Caesar. Nothing makes cooking more fun than a little bit of juice from the fun flask.
- Jalapeno Peppers or Chipolte Peppers found in Adobo sauce.
Block out those grey skies by adding Jalapeno peppers to spice up the chili and give it some colour. Chipolte peppers are a great alternative and are EXTREMELY spicy. They can be found in local grocery stores in adobo sauce.
- Espresso for a jolt
Espresso is a fun ingredient that can enhance a chili, adding a jolt to the slow-cooked stew. Espresso adds a unique quality to the dish, deepening the taste and making the eater buzz.
- Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder is a popular ingredient for alternative chili lovers and can bring out unsuspecting flavours in other ingredients. It also adds a smoky and earthy flavour to the dish, which will reduce the acidic taste tomatoes tend to cause. Be careful not to add too much cocoa powder — a smidge will make a stellar difference.
Beer is a great addition to chili because each type of beer creates a specialized taste relative to an individual’s pallet. Dark beers add a smoky quality to the dish and hoppier beers add a bit of a spicy kick. The beer evaporates the alcohol content so the dish is safe for kids, but the delightful taste of a good craft beer is left behind for the parents.
- Spicy Chocolate
Spicy chocolate (or chili chocolate) works well and can be found at local grocery stores. A darker chocolate will deepen the taste and add a pleasant and surprising spicy sweetness. It also pairs fantastically with red wine.
- Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha sauce gives chili a spicy Asian twist. For those who love typical hot sauce, Siracha will take your experience to the next step. Add soya sauce for a true Asian flare. Make sure to have water or corn bread on hand because Sriracha runs HOT!
- Arrowroot Powder and Sour Cream (vegan or otherwise)
Arrowroot can be difficult to find, but it is a staple in many southern dishes, including the classic, Gumbo. Adding the spice and sour cream (vegan variations are available and delicious!) turns the average chili into a southern frenzy. Many of us northerners have never tried REAL Gumbo, so this would be an adventurous option for a winter dinner party to warm the heart and soul.
Quinoa! Quinoa! Quinoa! Everything tastes better with this protein packed and intensely healthy grain. It also makes a great additional ingredient to chili because it thickens any recipe and will fill you up in a healthy and satisfactory way. It has a light taste, but pairs well with any spice, absorbing it easily.
- Veggie Dogs
A less healthy, but yummy, alternative is to thicken your chili and pour it on top of veggie hot dogs. Turning boring chili into chili dogs will cheer up anyone with winter blues — plus it’s a really fun dish for kids. Worried about the mess? Veggie hot dogs can also be cut up and put into the dish for younger children. No need to worry about getting chili on the floor.
- Curry Paste
Curry adds to any dish, giving it a spicy and cleansing flavour while still remaining delicious. Curried chili is a simple mixture and is affordable. Pairing curry paste with coconut will give the chili a rich and spicy flavor, making a smoother chili option.
With these new and fun ingredient options, enjoy your Friday night cooking and remember to have a drink on me.