It is cold outside. Bone-chilling cold. The only thing I love about this weather is that I get to make my style of chili. The kids love it (I make theirs minus the green chilies). Every time I make it, I feel like a caped crusader who has emerged to save her family from the bone-chilling cold.

Want to feel like a hero? Try this chili recipe.

Indian-Style Chili in Bread Bowls

From Modern Spice by Monica Bhide. Copyright 2009 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Serves 4

Prep/Cook Time: 50 minutes


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cinnamon stick

1 medium red onion, minced

1 tablespoon store-bought ginger-garlic paste

One 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, diced

1 1/4 pounds ground beef or ground turkey

1/2 teaspoon red chile powder

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

One 15- to 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained

1 1/2 cups water

Four 1-pound round loaves sourdough bread at least 5 inches across

Table salt

Finely chopped onion and green chiles (optional) for garnish


In a large lidded skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the cinnamon stick. When the stick begins to sizzle, add the onion and ginger-garlic paste. Sauté, stirring, until the onion is golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if the onion starts to stick to the pan.

Add the tomatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the oil begins to leave the sides of the mixture.

Add the beef and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spatula.

Add the chile powder, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, and coriander. Mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the kidney beans and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the beef is cooked through.

While the chili is cooking, prepare the bread bowls: Cut 1/2 inch off the top of each loaf. Gently scoop out the bread from inside the loaf, using care to leave a generous 3?4-inch shell intact.

Once the chili is cooked, remove the cinnamon stick, spoon a cupful of chili into each bowl, salt to taste, garnish with onion and chiles (if using), and serve immediately.

(Photo by Stephanie Stiavetti, gluten-free recipes)

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  1. Lovely Chili recipe with Indian flavors! Love the bread bowl! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Monica, I love the twist in spices in this chili!

  3. The bread basket looks cute! Might try this with soya granules and the rest of the ingredients.

  4. Oh, how I wish I had a pot of this on the stove this cold, snowy night! I’ll be trying this recipe for sure.

  5. This looks so delightful, especially when it’s cold out!

  6. Mmmm…this is an awesome recipe and am sure must be a true delight to have spicy and chilly version in winters. I wud love to try this expert version of urs and loved the idea of serving in a bread bowl. Cheers… !!!

  7. I have been wanting to try this for some time. A chili cookoff contest at work provided the incentive. After a few small trial batches, I opted for some changes. To amp the flavor of the meat, I pan seared flat iron steaks with fresh ginger, garlic, and garam masala in a cast iron Dutch oven then covered and braised it in chicken stock at 400F for two hours. I cut the steak into 1/2″ dice and poured it and the remaining liquid into a slow cooker. In the same Dutch oven, I prepared the onions as directed, deglazed with a bit more stock, then added the onions and the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. I cooked all on high for 3 hours. The chili didn’t win first place but, it was the first entry to be consumed completely! This was the description I submitted for the contest:
    Rajma Masala Chili “Rambo”
    East Meets West
    Thousands of years before the birth of the Hebrew Prophet Moses, an ancient civilization flourished in the Indus Valley in what is now regarded as the Punjab Region of Pakistan and Northern India. Flavoring ingredients indigenous to the Harappan Civilization traveled the routes of the Spice Trade and became known to European peasantry through the exotic tastes found in the leftovers scavenged from feudal despots’ feasts. This chili, with hints of ginger, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, cloves, caraway, nutmeg, and cumin, rekindle those ancient memories from the collective conscious.
    Thanks, Monica, for sharing this recipe!

    1. Thanks so much for trying my recipe but I am so sorry you did not win! I am glad that you and the other folks at least got to eat and enjoy it! Thanks!!

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