(Improvised?) Chili Con Carne Recipe

There’s half a kilo of ground beef in the fridge.

There’s canned pink beans sitting on the counter.

I have no tomato paste and cumin.

I have nothing else in the pantry (unless I go out and purchase something).

The answer is simple — I will improvise a chili con carne recipe.

I have been cooking chili con carne for several years now and this has been a staple with rice, nachos and taco shells. Everyone who tastes it loves the damn thing that one of the Team Leaders in my past life asked for my recipe.

Today I deviate from my original recipe, the recipe that has put my cousin to shame (and I tell you, she does a decent chili con carne too) as I rummage our counter and our fridge for a good substitute for tomato paste and cumin.

Was the result spectacular?

Hell it was!

Chili con carne rice topping garnished with red chili, green chili and shards of cheddar cheese.


  1. Ground beef
  2. Pink beans (maybe you can substitute pork and beans? For this recipe I used this)
  3. Garlic (whole and chopped finely)
  4. Palm oil
  5. Salt
  6. Pepper
  7. Sugar
  8. Star anise
  9. Bay leaf
  10. Ground oregano
  11. Cayenne pepper
  12. Ketchup
  13. Curry powder
  14. Butter

Yeah, you are correct, substituting tomato paste and cumin are ketchup and curry powder oh thank goodness I still have them at home!

The ketchup I used was UFC banana ketchup. Yup, banana ketchup! If you are a reader from overseas, this kind of ketchup is popular here in the Philippines maybe because it is less pricey than tomato ketchup? Or maybe it’s also because we Filipinos have been accustomed to the tang of banana ketchup versus the sharpness of tomato ketchup.

As for the curry powder, I tweaked this one a bit. With the store bought curry powder as base I added paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, pepper and sugar. Tossed everything together and kept in a plastic container.


  1. Saute garlic in hot pan with palm oil.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook thoroughly.
  3. Add the spices: star anise, bay leaf, ground oregano, curry powder, cayenne pepper. Mix and let it simmer for some two to three minutes.
  4. Add the ketchup, mix. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. For extra kick, add more cayenne pepper.
  5. Now here is the fun part. I saw that gorgeous looking butter in the fridge and thought hmmm why not give my chili con carne a nice sheen to it? And so I did! Add two table spoons of butter.
  6. Serve hot with rice or nachos.



Nomo Sesh: The future of Filipino drinking sessions

Inuman in style
From my Instagram account (hybridcha) — follow me!

With dimmed lights and hungry bellies my cousins Clarisse, Eunice and of course myself went ahead for a Sunday drinking spree some three weeks ago.

Pulutan (bar chow/finger food) is an integral part of a good drinking session (inuman) at least in the Filipino culture. Being known to bond during mealtime and over food, no matter how simple the food is, Filipinos will never say no to a table full of good food coupled with some bottles/glasses of alcoholic beverages. This is where the “meaningful and honest” stories come up (if you know what I mean hehe).

That night, Clarisse created her epic dynamite with generous amount of ground pork and cheese stuffed in those green chilies. Perfectly fried with an accompaniment of her creamy garlic dip, this was the highlight of the night. Arguably, the best dynamite I had!

Eunice prepared nachos with a smashing chili con carne. Classy and really good with those cubes of cheese melting on top (drool).

I brought pork sisig and cocktail too. The pork sisig was an impromptu one, having bought a can of pork sisig, adjusting its taste by sauteing it in garlic and adding salt and pepper. It has raw shallots, red chilies, mayonnaise and a drizzle calamansi juice.

My cocktail is a combination of rhum, calamansi juice, orange juice, pineapple juice and simple syrup. Clarisse said it was really, really good and such a traitor (it has that “kick” she never expected for a fun citrus-y drink).

My misses were chicharon and green chilies (too much green chilies, eh?) for my sisig and mint and lemon for the cocktail.

By the way, I did receive rave reviews for my impromptu sisig and cocktail hahaha what more if the sisig was made from scratch and the cocktail had mint and lemon and maybe even lime?

It was a fantastic evening nevertheless. We started around 9 PM and ended the drinking spree past 1 AM because Eunice was yawning like crazy already.

Who knows, my cousins and I will get lucky and bring the “Nomo Sesh” dream to life? It’s drinking and dining in (home)style! Hopefully, we get to work with other recipes for sharing.

And as for me, more cocktails to bring to life.