This recipe is based on one of the few American foods I still enjoy, Cincinnati Chili, although ours is a vegan version of this classic midwestern dish.
If you're not from Ohio or an American state bordering Ohio, you likely have never heard of Cincinnati Chili, but is truly out of this world delicious, especially my version.
But What Is It?
Chili (con carne) is a mildly spicy Tex-Mex dish, and as its name implies, it contains meat and chilies. Tex-Mex style chili should contain at the very least, meat, beans, tomatoes, chilies, garlic, onions and cumin.
Cincinnati Chili is a midwestern interpretation of this Tex-Mex dish, apparently with some Macedonian immigrant history to it.
The ingredient list for Cincinnati Chili is a bit different, requiring cinnamon, dark chocolate or cocoa powder and pasta in addition to standard chili ingredients.
In Ohio fast-food chili restaurants, you order your chili by counting the "ways," usually like this:
- Two-Way - spaghetti with chili on top
- Three-Way - spaghetti, chili and cheese
- Four-Way Onion - spaghetti, chili, onions and cheese
- Four-Way Bean - spaghetti, chili, beans and cheese
- Five-Way - spaghetti, chili, beans, onions and cheese
Cincinnati Chili 👨🍳 An Ital Recipe
This recipe came from years of experimenting, eventually letting Indian influences creep into it over time, such as ginger and turmeric.
It has become our family go-to soulfood dish, and because it's heavy and very filling, meat-eaters will love it too.
It's also a hit with kids, and is actually Monkey-B's favorite dish, but it's a close tie with Tofu Larb.
Cincinnati Chili 🧅🍅🧄🌶️ Ingredients
Primary Ingredients⋆ dried beans (soaked overnight) - 1 cup
⋆ pasta (any kind) - ½ kilo
⋆ tomatoes - 9-10
⋆ ginger - thumbnail sized piece
⋆ onions - 2-3 small
⋆ hing - ⅛ tsp
⋆ cinnamon - small stick
⋆ garlic - 5 cloves
⋆ cumin seeds - 1 tsp
⋆ cocoa powder - 1½ tbsp
⋆ chili powder (Tex-Mex) style - 1 tsp
⋆ paprika - 1 tsp
⋆ powdered chilies - ½ tsp
⋆ turmeric - ¼ tsp
⋆ allspice ⅛ tsp
⋆ turmeric - ¼ tsp
⋆ coriander powder 1 tsp
More "Ways"⋆ soy chunks ½ cup
⋆ raw diced onions
⋆ oyster or saltine crackers
⋆ hot sauce
⋆ vegan cheese (for hipsters)
note: Tex-Mex chili powder is not powdered chilies, but a mix of chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and other ingredients
👨🍳 Cooking Method 🔪
It Doesn't Have To Be This Complicated
You could omit the hing, turmeric powder, coriander powder and ginger, and still have a delicious non-Indianized Cincinnati Chili recipe.
👨🍳 Prepare Your "Ways"🔪
Don't Forget The Pasta 🍝
This dish really shouldn't be eaten without the pasta, so don't forget to cook it too. I didn't mention it in the recipe because you Hivers are pro chefs and don't need to be taught how to boil pasta.
A little hint for perfect timing is to start boiling your pasta water around the same time you put the lid on the pressure cooker.
More Protein & More Fun 👨🍳
Totally optional, but we like to add soy chunks to our chili to add more ways. More ways is more fun, and it gives this dish a little umami kick. Tofu, soy chunks and tempeh are all fair game.
STEP 1Soak them in water for 30 minutes and squeeze out the excess water, and these protein balls are ready for cooking.
STEP 2Heat a bit of oil in a small pan and fry the soy chunks with some salt and pepper until lightly browned.
Now You Got A Spread 🔪
Dice up some fresh onions, snag some hot sauce, plate your soy chunks, grab the pasta, the pressure cooker, and if you live in a country without food shortages, you can add saltine crackers and vegan cheese to the "ways."
If you put this kit on the table and the family is stoked, you can consider it "mission complete.".
Eat It 🍴
I think the reason it's Monkey-B's favorite dish is because you get to play with it so much before eating it."
By the time I usually finish my first plate, Monkey-B is still busy decorating her pasta with the perfect amount of chili, onions and soy chunks.
Monkey-B hasn't yet burst her stomach from overeating Cincinnati Chili, but we think we've had some close calls.
She is always the last one at the table, and always stumbles back in the house visibly intoxicated on raw onions and protein.
This dish is a weekly staple in our home, and it's usually a good meal to feed the @KidSisters when they're looking a little skinny.