Oil-free Indian Chili with Anti-inflammatory Spices

Preeti Bansal Kshirsagar, MPH, RD, LD

During this time of uncertainty and ambiguity, we invite you to fall back on the wisdom of traditional Indian foods. Indian spices are power-houses of antioxidants and micro nutrients which boost our immune system and provide strong anti-inflammatory benefits for our body. 

It is now widely accepted that during the Covid-19 pandemic, people with a healthy immune system fare much better than people with a compromised immune system. The good news is that our immune system is very responsive to our environment i.e. what we put inside our body and things we surround ourselves with. So, it is never too late to start boosting the immune system with healthful nutrient dense foods, like the Indian Chili recipe brought to you in this newsletter.


Recipe can also be used for Kidney Beans, White beans, Navy beans, Black beans or lentils.
Recipe creates 4 servings


  • 1 16 oz can garbanzo beans washed and drained OR 1/2 cup dry chickpeas soaked overnight and pressure cooked for 30 minutes.
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • ¼ bunch cilantro – chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Pure tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin 
  • ¼ tsp whole mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander seed powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste


  1. Add chopped onions to a large skillet at room temperature and put the lid on. Place the skillet on the stove at medium.
  2. While the onions are cooking, heat up a small skillet, without lid, on another stove.
  3. When the air above the small skillet feels warm add mustard and cumin seeds to the small skillet.
  4. Swirl the seeds around in the small skillet until the mustard starts to crackle and you can smell the roasted cumin. Do not allow the seeds to burn. If you see that the cumin has turned black(ish), throw the seeds away and start with a fresh skillet.
  5. Once the cumin and mustard seeds are roasted, take the lid off of the large skillet with onions and empty the roasted seeds into the large skillet.
  6. Cover the large skillet. Stir intermittently and cook until onions are translucent.
  7. When the onions are roasted, add the chopped tomatoes, coriander seed powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Stir well and allow to cook for 5 minutes
  8. Add in the tomato paste, garbanzo beans and 1 to 1.5 cups water depending on your preference for thick or thin curry.
  9. Cook on medium low, partially covered with occasional stirring until the whole recipe thickens and desired consistency is achieved (about 15 minutes)
  10. Taste and add salt and chili powder per taste. If adding chilli powder, cook for another 5 minutes to let the chilli powder dissolve in the recipe
  11. In the end, add chopped cilantro and turn off the heat.
  12. Serve hot topped with sliced onions, lemon wedges, cilantro and brown rice/ quinoa/ millet or any other whole grain. Can also be served with naan/chapati (Indian flat breads)

Optional ingredients: Try one or more optional ingredients to flavorize differently

  • 1 inch ginger grated (can be substituted with ginger paste/ ginger powder)
  • Pinch of asafetida(hing) 
  • 1 Cardamom (use mortar and pestle to turn cardamom seeds into powder, discard the outer cover)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic peeled and grated (can be substituted with garlic paste/ garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions for optional ingredients:

Asafoetida: Add asafoetida to the onions being roasted, after adding the roasted seeds
Ginger/Garlic/Cardamom: Add with chopped tomatoes
Lemon juice: Add with Cilantro

Preeti Bansal Kshirsagar is a Registered Dietitian, licensed with the State Medical Board of Ohio. She has extensive experience and education in the field of Integrative Nutrition and Functional Medicine, which is also the focus of her practice – Integrative Nutrition & Healing (INHWellness.com)

Preeti Bansal Kshirsagar MPH RD LD
3536 Edwards Rd, Suite 210, Cincinnati 45208