Macca’s Mega Chilli

A recipe for cooking this exquisite Mackenzie staple within the constraints of a New Zealand camper van.


20 oz / 500 g rump steak, trimmed of all fat, cut into 1/4-inch / 1/2cm cubes
2 large onions
4 garlic cloves
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 heaped tsp ground cumin
2 heaped tsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 star anise
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
Fresh or dried chillies (or tin of Chipotle Peppers in adobo sauce)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 14oz tin chopped tomatoes
1 chicken stock cube
2 oz dark 70% chocolate, grated or finely sliced
2 tablespoons ground almond
1 14oz tin kidney beans/haricot beans/mixed beans
Chopped parsley
Sour cream
Strong Cheddar cheese
Good quality tortilla chips


  1. Mix together the spices – cumin, paprika, cinnamon, star anise, black pepper – with the sugar , salt and enough vinegar to form a thick dry paste. Then mix in enough water so that the paste becomes smoother, but not runny, and set aside.
  2. Fry the onions and garlic slowly in the olive oil until they are golden and soft.
  3. Add the spice paste and stir until all of the onions and garlic are coated. Gently fry for a minute or so to cook out the water.
  4. Add the chopped rump steak and coat all the pieces with the mixture. Turn up the heat to brown the meat.
  5. Add the tomato puree and stir until everything is coated.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and mix well.
  7. Add the chopped chillies or chilli flakes (as many as you want depending on how big they are and how “hot” you want the dish to be). Start low and add more if necessary, remembering that you can always add more chilli to it but you can’t take them away.
  8. Add the chocolate and stir until it completely melts.
  9. Add the ground almonds and crumble in the chicken stock.
  10. Add the beans.
  11. Add some water if necessary just to loosen it up, so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the frying pan
  12. Stir well, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, then take off the cover and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes, until the sauce is thick.
  13. Just before serving add the chopped parsley (I’d normally put in two handfuls but it’s up to you).
  14. Spoon into a bowl (not a plate), sprinkle the cheese over it, and add a good dollop of sour cream.
  15. Serve with good quality tortilla chips.


Total cooking time around 50 minutes. I usually saved cooking it until we were staying at a campsite with kitchen facilities, rather than use our own gas. I could get all of the ingredients quite easily from New World and/or Countdown supermarkets.

The recipe easily serves two but try and save two or three heaps tablespoons behind for the following night and re-heat it in a saucepan with a small/medium bottle of passata. Add some more chilli flakes/adobo sauce if you like, simmer for 30 minutes and serve with spaghetti or penne pasta and more of the chopped fresh parsley. You’ll love it!

Try and get the adobo sauce (La Morena brand) if at all possible as it gives a wonderful smoky flavour to the dish – both New World and Countdown stock it.

I can also recommend a bottle of Kaitaia Fire Chili Pepper Sauce which goes great with some of the tortilla chips while you’re waiting for the Mega Chilli to cook! Again New World and Countdown should stock it.

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