Dragon-Fire Chilli

Fancy a little something spicy for dinner one night this week?

Then have a go at making my Dragon-Fire Chilli from Fairytale Food.

It’s delicious with some nachos and guacamole on the side or just with some rice and it is really simple to make. You can even make it in advance and freeze it in batches, but just remember to defrost thoroughly before re-heating it.

Illustration by Yelena Bryksenkova

A long time ago, a young and reckless knight thought it would be amusing to call his grandmother ‘The Dragon’. Thanks to the vicious disposition of this old crone, dragons throughout the land have since been branded as brutal and ferocious beasts. Of course, I can’t deny the fact that these gigantic fire-breathing winged monsters with sharp claws, scaly skin and huge serpent-like tails have a tendency to burn down houses and munch on the odd person or cow here and there, but I hope you won’t be swayed by all this bad press. I urge you to see these glorious creatures for what they truly are: rather large flying lizards with a love of very spicy food. Where did you think all that fire came from? This fiery chilli pays homage to all the hot-headed dragons of old.

Dragon-Fire Chilli

 Serves 2–4

1 tablespoon olive oil, for frying

500g minced beef

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3 chillies – 1 green, 2 red, seeded and finely chopped

½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 x 420g tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons tomato purée

salt and freshly ground black pepper

juice of 1 lime

a handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan (preferably non-stick), then add the mince and fry until browned – this should take about 5 minutes on a moderately high heat.
  2. Add the onions and continue cooking until they start to soften. Add the Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Next, add the chillies (fresh and dried), followed by the paprika, cayenne pepper and ground coriander, and stir well.
  4. Add the kidney beans, tomatoes and tomato purée and season well with salt and pepper. You’ll need to add a little more liquid to the chilli at this point so that it doesn’t dry out, so fill your empty tomato can half full with water and add to the pan. Add half the lime juice at this point.
  5. Bring the chilli to the boil, then turn the heat right down low so that the chilli can simmer very gently for a good couple of hours until the sauce has reduced down. You don’t need to cover it with a lid, but if you’ve got a splash guard that’s a good option.
  6. Once cooked, stir in the fresh coriander and add the last of the lime juice to give it a final zesty kick. Serve with long-grain rice or tacos and my Fair Maiden Guacamole.


 I use 3 fresh chillies and a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes in this recipe, but if you can’t take the heat and prefer to avoid the wrath of the dragon, reduce the amount of chilli to suit you. Likewise, if you’re a chilli fiend, increase the amount of chillies or just add Tabasco sauce to taste when the chilli is cooked.

If you’re interested in seeing more Fairytale Food recipes or you know someone who would like this as a gift, the book is out now!




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