Viet-Mex Chili

"A chili recipe I perfected in college marrying elements from Vietnamese and Mexican cuisines. Economical, delicious and plentiful."

Prep Time


Cook Time


Paired With

Main Protein



minced lean beef 1 lb, 1 large, 3 cloves, 1 tbsp, 1 tbsp, 1 tbsp, 1 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tsp, 3/4 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 1/2 cups, 15 oz can, 14.5 oz can, 1/4 cup, 1/2 tbsp, 1/2 tbsp, (green onions, sour cream, etc.), (to serve)
minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
ancho chili powder
guajillo chili powder
smoked paprika
onion powder
black pepper
beef broth
pinto beans
fire roasted tomatoes
tomato paste
soy sauce
fish sauce
preferred toppings
white rice


  1. Prepare chilis (skip this step if you can find pre-ground chili powders). Split dried ancho chili peppers (about 1-3 peppers) down the middle and remove all seeds. Place dried ancho chili flesh/meat in blender or spice grinder and grind until a coarse powder. Repeat steps for guajillo chili powder (about 1-2 peppers).
  2. Set stove to high heat. Add oil to large pot or Dutch oven until bottom of pot is coated.
  3. Add beef to pot and sprinkle with salt. Brown beef and cook over high heat breaking apart with a spatula. Cook until beef forms brown crispy and crusty bits. Remove beef from pot and drain fat if necessary reserving 2 tbsp of fat. Add more oil if there is not enough fat.
  4. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  6. Add all spices (chipotle in adobo, ancho powder, guajillo powder, paprika, cumin, onion powder, black pepper) and stir well. Cook for 1 minute to lightly toast spices.
  7. Add tomato paste and cook for 3-5 minutes until tomato paste turns darker color to a brick red.
  8. Add beef broth and stir.
  9. Return cooked beef to the pot and add all remaining ingredients — beans, tomatoes, soy sauce and fish sauce. 
  10. Bring to a boil and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  11. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 30 minutes minimum to allow flavor to develop. For best flavor, simmer for 1 hour.
  12. Serve over white rice with preferred toppings (green onions, sour cream, etc).