Chinese Chili – Pork & Tofu Chili

Chinese Chili, Pork and Tofu with lots of Chinese flavor in a comforting chili.

A great tasting chili - Pork & Tofu Chinese Chili  - Low Calorie, Low Fat Dinner - Repin it for later

It is a cool, crisp morning already here in Georgia. The kind of morning that is perfect for making chili. Chinese chili that is. Spice it up a little bit and put a twist in your ordinary chili. Bump up the nutrition, get out the chopsticks and have Chinese Chili.

This is such a whimsical dish.  It actually started as something entirely different, minced pork with tofu.  For years now, my hubby has been reminiscing about a dish his best friend, Calvin, made him.  Neville, my hubby, spent his teenage years in Singapore where he met Calvin and they have been friends ever since.  Calvin is quite a good cook and gave Neville his recipe for minced pork with tofu minus any measurements of ingredients!  So one day I decide I am finally going to make it.  I get the recipe out and decide to just go for it.  Even though minced pork with tofu is a fairly common Chinese dish I had never had it and didn’t know anything about it.  I just decided to fly blind.  I switched out the ground pork for pork tenderloin and started on my way.  About 3/4 of the way through I knew I was in trouble.  It didn’t look right and was kind of bland.  Hmmm.  I yell down to Neville who is outside playing with our daughter, “What is this suppose to be like”.  He yells back “Well, kind of like chili”.  Light bulb moment – Chinese chili was born.

Well, that night I doctored up the dish so we could eat it and started again.  This time making my own idea of what Chinese chili would be. I kept the tofu – my daughter loves tofu.  Don’t worry if you are squeamish about tofu, it really just blends in and takes on the taste of whatever you are making.  I switched the pork tenderloin for ground chicken (You can use ground turkey, too), added some of my favorite Asian flavors like black bean sauce and Chinese 5 spice powder and voila we had Chinese chili.

What would chili be without toppings, BORING!  So to increase the chances of my daughter eating the chili, I topped it with chow mein noodles and avocado.  More of her favorite foods.  I also added a little cilantro for me – I love cilantro.  Now the test, would my daughter eat it and would my Mom who was over for dinner eat it??  Yeah!  Clean bowls and a big thumbs up.  Chinese chili was a hit in our house.

In case you are wondering about some of the ingredients, my local grocery store does stock them all.  Although Chinese 5 spice powder is a spice it is in the International section in my grocery store.  It is a combination of five spices – usually anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan peppers and fennel seed.  If you cannot find it substitute with a little cinnamon, cloves and fennel seeds if you have them.  Mirin is a sweet Japanese condiment and you could substitute Sake.  If you cannot find black bean sauce then you could use oyster or hoisin sauce.  The flavor would be slightly different.  Also the tofu I used was a “lite” tofu not soft.  It has fewer calories then the regular tofu and I found that in the produce section of my grocery store.  If you happen to have an Asian market by you, go there.  All of this will be much cheaper.  I always try to get my soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, etc there.  A lot of common spices are also much cheaper. Save yourself some $$$.

A great tasting chili - Pork & Tofu Chinese Chili  - Low Calorie, Low Fat Dinner - Repin it for later

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Yields 6 servings

Chinese Chili

15 minPrep Time

50 minCook Time

1 hr, 5 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Chinese five spice
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2-3 dried chilies, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 bunch green onion, diced, keep 1/4 cup aside for garnish
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 1/2 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 packet lite firm tofu, patted dry than diced
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. mirin or sake
  • 3 tbsp. black bean sauce with garlic
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • Toppings:
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup chow mein noodles


  1. Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken breaking it up into crumbles as it browns.
  2. Add garlic, dried chilies, ginger and green onion to the pot and saute until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add peppers, onion and mushrooms. Cover and cook until vegetables have released all their water, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, mirin, black bean sauce, chicken broth, sugar and cornstarch.
  5. Stir into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.
  6. Add tofu, stirring gently.
  7. Cook for another 20 minutes to let all the flavors combine.
Happy Healthy Eating,


But wait, there’s more. Check out these delicious, healthy Chinese recipes:

Chinese Steamed Eggplant with Shrmp Stir Fry www.fooddonelight.comChinese Steamed Eggplant & Shrimp Stir Fry

Quick weeknight meal idea - Pork and Bok Choy Stir Fry

A quick and easy weeknight dinner

 Pork & Bok Choy Stir Fry

Even my child loved this one. Slow Cooker Mu Shu Chicken Tacos www.fooddonelight.comSlow Cooker Mu Shu Chicken Wraps


  1. Cannot wait to try this recipe. May have to adjust this week's menus accordingly. Thanks for sharing, have not seen Calvin in many years.
  2. Wow... so many ingredients. At first, I felt completely overwhelmed... then I decided to read the story behind it... I was sold. It is on list of dishes to make for my honey! ;-)
  3. We love the tofu, too! This looks like a perfect weeknight dinner, thanks for sharing!
  4. I love the balance of hot and sweet in this recipe. thanks for sharing it on foodie friday.
  5. This looks great. I'm always looking for new Chinese inspired chicken dishes.
  6. We are going to love your Chinese Chili and can't wait to make it. Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Come Back Soon! Miz Helen
  7. I'm gonna have to give this a try. Chinese Chili, love the name. Thanks so much for sharing it at The Gathering Spot.
  8. What a unique twist on chili. I haven't seen anything like it before. The ingredients alone sound good. I can only imagine the layers of flavor they will build when I try it. Thanks for sharing on Beyer Beware today.
  9. Ooppps! I wrote the wrong blog hop. Thanks for sharing on Sumo's Sweet Stuff. Sooo many hops. So little time :O
  10. Oh this looks so good and healthy too! Thank you for linking up to In the Kitchen Thursdays link party!! I cant wait to see what you come up with for next week!!!
  11. This sounds fabulous! Absolutely love it if you could link up this (and a couple other recipes) to Wonderful Food Wednesday at Hope to see you there! Jessica @ At Home Take 2
  12. What an exciting bowl of goodness, we will just love this recipe. Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Come Back Soon! Miz Helen
  13. I have chinese 5 spice powder and I was looking for something to do with it. Thanks for sharing this wonderfully seasoned recipe on foodie friday.
  14. Sounds delish! I wish I had the ingredients on hand. I found you via TGIF Linky Party! Diana Diana Rambles Bento Blog Network Custom Blog Designs
  15. Great recipe and love the story behind the name! Thanks for sharing on Busy Monday!
  16. This looks so warm and filling on a chilly day. Definitely a soup that eats like a meal. Thanks for sharing at Church Supper. Have a blessed week & come back soon.
  17. That looks wonderful! A nice Asian style chili. Thanks for stopping by at Show Off Friday!
  18. Hello, new follower here! I would love to have you link up with my Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week! I hope to see you there! Cheers! Kathy The Chicken Chick
  19. Yum, I will have to try this! Thanks so much for joining us at the Keep Calm & Link Up Party! See you again soon for the next one!
  20. This sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing at Fit and Fabulous Fridays!!
  21. Annamaria Settanni McDonald says
    You been featured from last week's Blog Party! Congratulations! Come grab your feature button in this post! See you there! Hope you will link up your new creations in this weeks party again! Happy Autumn, Annamaria
  22. This looks so yummy! I'm featuring it tomorrow on Foodie Friday.
  23. Heaving on over from the Clever Chick blog hop! Oh what lovely flavors. I so miss them after moving away from Southern California. I would love for you to link this up to my blog hop, if you would be so inclined. I'd be a pleasure!~Melissa


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