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!
- Ground beef
- Pink beans (maybe you can substitute pork and beans? For this recipe I used this)
- Garlic (whole and chopped finely)
- Palm oil
- Star anise
- Bay leaf
- Ground oregano
- Cayenne pepper
- Curry powder
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.
- Saute garlic in hot pan with palm oil.
- Add the ground beef and cook thoroughly.
- Add the spices: star anise, bay leaf, ground oregano, curry powder, cayenne pepper. Mix and let it simmer for some two to three minutes.
- Add the ketchup, mix. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. For extra kick, add more cayenne pepper.
- 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.
- Serve hot with rice or nachos.