Thai Chili Chili

I have a question: In a cooking competition, is spiking a recipe with fish sauce cheating or just savvy? On the one hand, it is pretty much umami distilled; just one small step short of dumping in the MSG and looking the other way as you rack up votes. On the other hand, it’s fish sauce. Thinking to put it in chili required some creativity on my end so I think I’ll just say a gracious thank you for my recent chili cook-off victory and share the recipe.


Saturday night, my friends threw their annual fall party complete with apple bobbing, sack racing, and, most importantly, a chili cook-off. A few weeks before, as I contemplated my chili contest entry, I told one of the hosts that I was going to try making a Thai chili chili (puns!). I also predicted I would lose the contest. It’s hard to win the chili cook off with a non-traditional chili.

But, this chili is special. ¬†Fish sauce actually turns out to be kind of perfect in chili because it is smokey and sweet. This chili is both of those things but also spicy and meaty. It has a vinegary kick and is finished with coconut milk and lime juice. It’s turkey based. I used edamame in place of kidney beans and shallots in place of some of the onions.

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