This hearty vegetarian fare, which is great served over brown rice, is one example of how the ideas in traditional Chinese medicine can be applied to a Western-style dish. The five colors — black, red, white, green, and yellow — represent all five elements working together to help balance and harmonize the body.
Here is the recipe as originally posted on Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen.
Five-Element Vegetarian Chili
1/4 cup dried black beans
¼ cup dried kidney beans
¼ cup dried azuki (red) beans
¼ cup dried navy beans or other white beans
¼ cup dried whole green peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 tablespoons good-quality chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried basil (or 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried sage (or 2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped)
1 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice
½ pound (1 ½ to 2 cups) mushrooms, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup (about 1/2 pound) butternut squash or kabocha pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 fresh medium-size tomatoes, chopped into ½-inch pieces
3/4 cup red wine
Condiments: sliced green onions and/or plain yoghurt (optional)
- Soak the beans and peas in water at room temperature overnight (or at least 8 hours). Be sure to use at least twice as much water as the beans, as the beans will absorb a lot of water.
- Drain water from beans and peas, rinse them, and transfer to a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer on low for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat, then add the garlic, onions, and celery. Stir-fry until the vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano, sage, sage, black pepper (if using), and salt, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, mushrooms, squash, fresh tomatoes, red wine, and bean and pea mixture to the pot and stir to blend.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for an additional 35 minutes or until the pieces of squash are cooked to your liking.
- Serve with green onions and/or plain yogurt, if desired.