Black Bean Chili With Mushrooms and Toasted Spices

black bean chili

Spring is finally here, though in a rather cool manner, but warmer weather is coming soon and that means lighter meals for most of us. Usually more salads appear on the table, along with a greater selection of raw creations. Still, no matter the season, there is always a place on the table for a thick, steamy and spicy chili, unless of course it is blazing hot outside, but even then, you won't be slaving over a hot stove for this pot of comfort — besides, spicy foods do have a cooling effect for some relief from the heat as they raise your body temperature and induce sweating.

I've shared this recipe before, shortly after starting up Lisa's Kitchen, but revised it to include mushrooms, changed the spicing somewhat and updated the photos. Dry-toasted spices, along with the perhaps surprising addition of fennel, give this dish a unique and delicious smoky pungency. Best of all, one large bowl is a meal unto itself though it does goes well with a fresh lightly dressed green salad.

Black Bean Chili with Mushrooms and Toasted SpicesBlack Bean Chili with Mushrooms and Toasted Spices
Recipe by
Originally published on December 9, 2007

Black bean and brown rice chili with mushrooms, dry toasted spices and fennel for a unique and delicious smoky pungency — a warming, filling and nourishing one-pot meal

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 40 minutes

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  • 1 cup dried black beans (3 cups cooked or 2 14 oz cans)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice or millet
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 to 6 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large tomato, chopped finely
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 8 oz (225 g) large white mushrooms, sliced
  • generous handful of dried curry leaves
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • Rinse the beans and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water. Rinse the brown rice or millet and soak in a separate small pan or bowl in 1 cup of water.

  • Drain and rinse the beans, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and add the ginger, jalapeños, 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro and the bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft but not falling apart.

  • Meanwhile, bring the rice or millet to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

  • While the rice and beans are cooking, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid, and chop.

  • In a small saucepan or frying pan, toast the cumin seeds for 2 to 3 minutes over medium-low heat until the seeds darken. Add the chili powder, ground coriander, asafetida, cayenne and oregano, and stir for 1 minute. Now stir in the tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and salt. Turn the heat up slightly to bring the sauce to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.

  • When the beans are cooked, remove from the heat and drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Return the beans to the stove and add 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Stir in the tomato sauce, rice or millet, mushrooms and salt, and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add more of the reserved cooking liquid or sun-dried tomato soaking liquid or water as necessary.

  • Put the mustard seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat, cover with a lid, and toast, shaking the pan, until the seeds begin to pop. Quickly toss in the fennel seeds, cover again, and continue to toast until the mustard seeds stop popping. Pour into the beans, cover, and let sit for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Season the chili with black pepper and more salt as desired.

  • Serve hot, garnishing each serving with chopped cilantro.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

black bean chili with mushrooms

Other vegetarian chili recipes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Black Bean and Quinoa Mexican-Style Chipotle Vegetarian Chili
Vegetarian Chili with Kidney Beans, Black Beans and Rye Berries
Vegetarian Three Bean Chili with a Cashew-Pistachio Sauce


basil said...

Thanks once again Lisa. I took a couple of liberties with this one (I'd soaked a mix of rice and millet before deciding what to make and tossed some mushrooms I found at the back of my fridge into the tomato sauce) and it still turned out very nicely.

Lisa said...

Mushrooms, of course! And millet, a fine addition.