This is a simple, hearty vegan chilli hotpot recipe that lends itself to bulk cooking and yes, it uses chocolate. But don’t be worried. Rather than the sweet, milky taste you’re used to, here the chocolate will add a dark and phenomenally rich flavor.
Chocolate in savory recipes
What you think of as a sweet treat has long been used, globally, to add depth to umami dishes. Indeed, experimental Italian cooks have been traced back to 1680, with lasagne, pappardelle, and various meat courses utilizing chocolate.
More pertinently to this dish, Latin America favors adding chocolate to traditional savory dishes, including chilli and mole. The latter is a decadent sauce made using chocolate, chillis, and tomatillos. This is then used to top enchiladas and other dinner recipes.
Tailor the spice in your vegan chilli hotpot
As with all recipes that include chilli, we want to remind you that you can tweak the amount you use to suit your own tastes. If you’re of the mindset that hotter is better, go as wild as you dare. Equally, if you prefer a mild yet flavorful dish, tread gently and add more as and when you need to. Be aware that the chocolate and chilli partner in this dish, so taste your cooking regularly until you hit the perfect blend of heat and richness.
- 1 onion (finely diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1½ sticks celery (sliced)
- 1½ medium carrots (peeled and sliced)
- 1 red pepper (cored and sliced)
- 400 ml tin brown or green lentils (drained and rinsed)
- 1 tin black beans 9drained and rinsed)
- 500 ml passata
- 1 tbsp syrup (eg agave, maple etc – optional or dark brown sugar)
- Juice 1 lime
- 180-300 ml stong vegan stock
- 2 tsp cocoa or cacao powder OR 2-3 squares of quality dark vegan chocolate
- Fry the onion until soft.
- Add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Pop in the spices then cook for another minute.
- Add the celery, carrots and red pepper and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the passata and the minimum amount of stock and stir in. Cook for about 10-15 minutes on a simmer or until the vegetables have softened.
- Add the lentils and beans. Stir again, adding more stock if needed.
- Add the cocoa, cacao or chocolate, the syrup (or sugar) and lime juice. Cook for another five minutes. Taste your vegan chilli hotpot and add more stock powder, salt, syrup or lime juice if necessary.