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Pork or tofu chili with soy sauce

Makes: 4 to 6 servings / Time: About 1 hour, largely unattended
Makes: 4 to 6 servings / Time: About 1 hour, largely unattended


  • 2 tablespoon peanut or other vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground pork, or firm or extra-firm tofu, blotted dry
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped, some reserved for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoon five-spice powder (or 1 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon)
  • 1 teaspoon 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes with their liquid
  • 2 tablespoon cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoon 3 cups cooked (or 2 cans) kidney, pinto, or soy beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


Baking Directions:


Put the oil in a large pot over medium heat.

A minute later, pinch off bits of ground pork or tofu and drop them into the hot fat.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, undisturbed, until well browned, 5 to 10 minutes; then stir, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pot.

Keep cooking another few minutes, stirring only when needed, until the meat or tofu is deeply colored.

Add all but a handful of the scallions, the garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring and scraping occasionally, until the vegetables soften, another 3 to 5 minutes.


Stir in the five-spice powder, cayenne, tomatoes and their liquid, soy sauce, sesame oil, and 1 cup water.

Bring the pot to a boil, then adjust the heat so that the mixture bubbles.

Cook, stirring every now and then, until the tomatoes start to break down and thicken, 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the beans and a little more water if it looks to dry; return to a boil.


Lower the heat so the mixture bubbles and cook, stirring once or twice and adding a little water if necessary, until the beans absorb the flavors and the chili thickens, 20 to 30 more minutes.

(The chili can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated for up to a few days or frozen for months; gently reheat before proceeding.)

Taste, and add lots of pepper and salt or soy sauce if necessary, and serve, garnished with the remaining scallions, and the peanuts and cilantro.


Soy sauce and tomatoes are a surprisingly good combo.

If you can find smoked tofu, use it to intensify the flavor of this chili.

You can also use a combination of pork and tofu if you like.

Eat with soft flour tortillas, which are remarkably like mu shu wrappers.

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