February 6, 2011

Black Bean and Chocolate Chilli

Don’t give me that look I know what you’re thinking.

This weekend has been rush, rush, rush. I was panicking all day yesterday wondering what on earth I was going to present to you. I annoyed other people into helping me think of something, which has never really happened before. Shall I let you in on how this whole blogging shebang works for me?

I wake up on Monday mornings, droopy-eyed and full of bitterness about how quickly the weekend flew by, why it’s so damn cold and why I’m wearing two coats (yeah I know, what the hell, right?) Around lunchtime I start to wonder what could possibly sweeten up my mood.


Thinking about food usually does it for me. I couldn’t tell you why – although my belly, bingo wings and thunder thighs probably could. Figuring out what to eat by ingredient is much too complex for me, so I usually work out what would hit the spot by cuisine.

I do a hi-tech international Matrix-styleè brain scan of what I’d like to shovel in to my mouth as quickly as possible. Let me give you an example of the kind of thought process that takes place:

Chinese: Meh
French: No
Italian: Hmm
Japanese: Maybe
Thai: Ouhh…
Indian: Nah
Mexican: Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

I promise you this is going somewhere – sort of.

Next, I think of all the possible dishes I could create to fill this particular craving using my favourite ingredients and influences from that part of the world. I usually end up getting so carried away with this that I end up blogging about one of the dishes I cooked up in a fantasy I had earlier in the week.

I’m not the kind of girl to ignore my belly when it speaks to me, just so you know.

I’ve always wanted to make a spicy chilli with dark chocolate, inspired by Mexican ‘mole’ sauce. In my recipe, I used chocolate to give the chilli an intense, slightly bitter flavour to counteract the savoury notes already muddling in the pot. The result? A rich, hearty bowlful of goodness, topped off with a dollop of sour cream, sprinkle of cheese and some fresh avocado.

Hand me the tortilla chips, por favor?


Now, if you’re Mexican or a whiz at cooking Mexican food, I apologise for this in advance. I’m not going to call this dish Mexican because it almost certainly breaks all the rules of Mexican cooking.

However, I’m not going to apologise for saying it’s delicious. (“It’s delicious”) – Because it is, and because I can say whatever I like here in my safe haven. Ha.

Black Bean and Chocolate Chilli
(serves 4-6)


160g dried black beans, cooked (I did mine in the pressure cooker)
80g dried pinto beans, cooked (I did mine in the pressure cooker)
80g dried soya mince, soaked in hot water then squeezed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
300g passata
2 tbsp concentrated tomato puree
2 tbsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander seed powder
5 hot green chillies, minced
125g 70% cacao dark chocolate, chopped
3 tsp sugar
4 tbsp lime juice
100g sharp cheddar cheese
2 tsp dried oregano
Handful of chopped coriander
Salt to taste
Around 1 litre hot water

To serve
Sour cream
Chopped avocado
Chopped coriander


1. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pan or dutch oven. Add the onions and allow to brown. Add the garlic, chillies, cumin powder, coriander powder, tomato puree, passata, sugar, oregano, chocolate and cheese, and bring to a boil.

2. Add the reconstituted soya mince, cooked beans and enough water to cover by about an inch. Put the lid on, turn the heat down to low and simmer for around 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove the lid and adjust the consistency of the chilli if necessary. Add more water if it’s thick, or continue to simmer with the lid off if too watery.

4. Add a handful of chopped coriander and season with salt. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

5. Serve in bowls and top with sour cream, avocado and coriander. You can have this with tortilla chips, flour or corn tortillas, spicy rice or seasoned potato wedges.

Have you ever cooked a savoury dish with chocolate? If not, go and make this – pronto!

Did you make this?

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31 responses to “Black Bean and Chocolate Chilli”

  1. The Chef Doc says:

    Aw, Sanjana… what a beautiful chili! I can't even imagine what the chocolate adds to it; I must try that technique! Thank you so much for sharing this tasty dish with us 🙂 I liked your thought process getting to it, too 😉

  2. Tiffany says:

    I love this! It's like mole chili! 😀 What is passata?

  3. The Mom Chef says:

    Bingo wings? I love the hint of chocolate in the chili, and can only imagine the amazing flavor it gives. Now I need to go make some. Happy Super Bowl!

  4. Priya says:

    Yumm, inviting dish..

  5. artipatel88 says:

    Woweee…That looks amazing! 😀

  6. Mike says:

    My wife and I are a big fan of putting cocoa in chili.

    I am glad to see this is done by other people.

  7. Premalatha Aravindhan says:

    Wow wat a combo,Luks very tempting…nice clicks.

  8. penny aka jeroxie says:

    Delicious! Looks so rich and yummy.

  9. Jun says:

    I've never give much thought to chili and chocolate combo, but it does look so delicious!

  10. Mr. P says:


    OMG last night P and I went to this cool Indian cafe that I didn't even know was in Cardiff and had dosas and barfi. I shall be making your barfi recipe as soon as I get chance. But mango flavoured, because kesar barfi = my happiness.

  11. Gayathri Kumar says:

    Very interesting combination. Looks so tempting..

  12. Sanjana says:

    Thanks all!

    Tiffany- Sieved tomatoes
    The Mom Chef- This is a British colloquialism for flabby arms… Like when women go to play Bingo and wave their arms in the air and their upper arms wibble. Heh.

  13. Tina says:

    Beautiful clicks….Soooo rich nd creamy…

  14. ravienomnoms says:

    What a great and creative idea! I think this looks incredible!

  15. john says:

    yh baby the more chilli the better!!!
    great recipe!!

  16. Xiaolu says:

    Mmm I can just imagine how the chocolate deepens the flavor and makes this black bean stew all the more delicious!

  17. Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal says:

    When I read the title I tried re-reading just to make sure I read it fine. Chocolate in chilli, wow, unusual, interesting and beautiful color 🙂

  18. Jhonny walker says:

    Incredible– I will do it. The chocolate is the uber smart touch! and written super well too 🙂

  19. Vaishali Sharma says:

    That's so yummy! Never heard Black Bean and Chocolate Chilli together but sounds sooo good.
    Love it! Congrats on Top9!

  20. foodblogandthedog says:

    Delicious recipe and a beautiful blog, so glad to have found you! Congrats on Top 9 Too!

  21. The Mistress of Spices says:

    Sounds delicious!!!! I love mole so of course it makes total sense to do a chili with chocolate. I will definitely try this, thanks!

  22. Junia says:

    this looks delicious!!! i love vegetarian recipes, since i'm a vegan :). congrats on top 9 🙂

  23. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on making it to top 9.

  24. Jill Colonna says:

    I LOVE your post! Congrats on top 9: I can see why. The combinations sounds just incredible and it's something I'm dying to try.

  25. briarrose says:

    Yummy…..wonderful combination of flavors. Avocado and dark chocolate…love it!

  26. Sortachef says:

    Yum, Sanjana. Some overtone of mole poblana lingers when I mentally taste this. Could have done this Sunday when my son whipped up his (ordinary) bean dip. Thanks!

  27. izzy says:

    yumyum, a friend veganifies something similar to this by using cocoa powder instead of chocolate (and omitting the cheese/sour cream).

    also, the other day for lunch we had some left over from dinner and made quesadillas. Slather it on a flour tortilla and add grated cheese. squash another one on top in a hot frying pan (without the oil) and flip the tortillas over so they're brown on each side. cut into wedges and devour!

    pictures look devine!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on making it to number 1 on foodbuzz.

  29. The Salty Pear says:

    we took a similar chili to a friend's house for a potluck a while ago and when we told her three-year-old there was CHOCOLATE in it, you should have seen the look on her face!

  30. A 2 Z Vegetarian Cuisine says:

    Sounds great to me…shall try out soon..

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