Chili con carne, or simply known as chili, is a stew full of various ingredients. It has a spicy taste which contains ground meat, beans, hot and bell peppers, and tomatoes. It includes some seasonings as well and that can vary from each chef.
Tomatoes are often underrated. However, they infuse a strong and vibrant flavor into the dish. In chili, tomatoes play a major role. So, a question may arise here, whether you should use tomato paste or sauce for chili? We will give you some quick tips to help you decide which one to use.
Tomato Paste Or Sauce For Chili
First, we need to understand the basic difference between tomato paste and sauce.
Tomato paste has a strong flavor and thick consistency. You add the paste to uplift the taste of the entire dish. Tomato paste is made by cooking it until it loses all the moisture.
Its taste is tarty because of tomatoes with little to no moisture content. Due to this reason, it is part of dishes where you need to add the umami flavor and enhance the flavor.
Owing to their cooking method, tomato paste gives off more lycopene than the sauce. Tomatoes are nutritious and you should make full use of their benefits.
How to use tomato paste?
The paste is used in soups and stews. So, it means you can add it to chili as well. However, you should keep in mind that tomato paste needs to be added in a lesser amount. A single spoon can add a vibrant flavor.
Firstly, fry the tomato paste in oil to warm it. It will also loosen up the paste’s consistency.
Then, add water according to the consistency you want. You can also add broth. The liquids can help achieve a state of neutral consistency. Keep in check the texture throughout cooking as the paste promotes the chili to become thicker.
After that, to balance out the flavor, you can add the various spices and herbs used in the original sauce.
As mentioned earlier, the paste has an acidic taste. You can also add sugar to neutralize the flavor.
The paste promotes an umami taste to the overall dish.
The sauce contains tomatoes along with several other items. These include different spices, herbs, garlic, and onion. The flavor profile and consistency differ from the paste. It has a watery texture and can be the choice of sauce for pasta and pizzas. Its loose consistency is due to the low amount of solid tomatoes in comparison to the paste. The taste profile matches that of fresh tomatoes. Although, you will also get a touch of various seasonings.
The problem with using the sauce in chili is its liquid texture. The end stew is soupy and not appropriate for eating. Some people may prefer to use it this way. However, the chili should have mixed consistency and you should also strive to achieve this one.
How to use tomato sauce?
The advantage of using tomato sauce is that you get a lot of flavor because of the extra seasonings. The drawback is a watery chili. It is not recommended to use the sauce if you plan to achieve a thicker texture. A soupy stew is not a great choice when you have guests to serve.
If you can’t get your hands on either tomato sauce or chili or you have canned tomato at home, you can simply use it in the chili. The canned tomatoes also have the flavor of some seasonings. Thus, it can be an appropriate substitute for both the sauce and the paste.
Chili is a stew loved by many. There are disputes upon the ingredients. Chefs have their recipes but some basic items must be part of a pot of chili. Tomatoes form an important foundation. So, whether you should use tomato paste or sauce in chili is a matter of choice. Some people use canned tomatoes in chili. So, you can also go with this option. Tomato paste has a thick texture that makes chili less soupy. Those who use tomato sauce complain of soupy stew. Hence, it is a matter of choice and consistency. Enjoy the spicy stew with your loved ones!