The not-so-secret ingredient in "Chinese Black Bean Chili" is the Chinese black bean sauce. As described in the recipe head notes, "Garlicky Chinese black bean sauce is a salty intense seasoning". Not one to shy away from intense flavors, I found this dish immensely satisfying with the black bean sauce adding a wonderful complexity to a dish made up of otherwise commonplace ingredients: black beans, onions, carrots, and tomatoes. You would expect to find chili powder in a chili dish, and here you do, but a surprise ingredient that stretches the boundaries of chili as we might think of it is freshly grated ginger, which of course marries nicely into this Chinese themed recipe. As I have been noticing in many of her dishes, Robin often incorporates a theme of twos, or a theme of threes, into a recipe. Here it is a theme of twos with the Chinese black bean sauce, and the black beans themselves. An unusual and delicious take on chili, which I heartily recommend.
"Keeping it McDougall Friendly" checklist:
ü Omit the canola oil when stir-frying the veggies, and use a bit of sherry, water, or broth instead, and/or a nonstick skillet.