With a mother and grandparents born and raised in Hawaii, I (Cindy AKA Masi) grew up eating chili on (Japanese) rice, both at home in El Cerrito, CA and at Zippy’s during our every-five-years trips to Oahu to visit family. Chili on rice is a THING in Hawaii, where mashups like this are all part of the greater culture (see: plate lunch).
In researching recipes in an attempt to recreate Zippy’s Chili, the one thing most people seem to agree on is the addition of mayo at the end. I don’t remember my mother doing this (if memory serves, she just served us Hormel’s from a can) and I haven’t been to Hawaii in almost 20 years, but we’re going with it because it really does make the chili extra yummy.
One ingredient Zippy’s does have that we’ve omitted is Portuguese sausage. Our thinking is that our Tikka Masala Spice Blend provides the smokey heat that the sausage does, while eliminating some of the fat (and meat, for us vegetarians making this with Beyond Meat). To bring in even more smokiness, try using fire-roasted tomatoes.
Feel free to check out our tips in the Recipe Notes!
Super easy and incredibly ’ono, this chili on rice recipe will take you on a flavor journey to Hawaii that some will be familiar with and others will be surprised by!
1 lb ground beef (85/15), turkey, chicken or Beyond Meat
3-4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1" piece ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 15.5 oz cans kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 28 oz can —OR— 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes (regular or fire-roasted)
1 C chicken or vegetable broth
2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp ketchup (optional)
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 tsp brown or raw sugar (optional)
2 bay leaves (optional)
3 TBSP mayonnaise (egg-based or vegan both work)
4-8 C cooked Japanese (or basmati) rice*
1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat, add the ground meat and season with salt and pepper. Stir often while also breaking up the meat into small pieces, until browned.
Set the pot back over medium heat and add the finely chopped onion, celery and green bell pepper to the remaining fat (if no fat remaining, add 2-3 TBSP vegetable oil to pot). Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 pack of Masi Masa Tikka Masala Spice Blend along with the minced garlic and ginger, cook for a few minutes, stirring often.
Add in tomatoes, 1 cup of broth, 2-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, ketchup (if using), sugar (if using), 2 cans of beans, 2 bay leaves, and cooked meat. Stir to combine.
Remove pot from the heat, remove bay leaves, and stir in the mayonnaise until well-combined.
Serve chili over rice and top with shredded cheddar cheese and sliced green onion.
*To keep it traditional, serve over Japanese rice (its stickiness works well with the chili). But if you don’t have Japanese rice, basmati rice also works great.
*Since this dish is half about the rice, make more than you think you’ll need!
This is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day. It’s also great for a crowd. So double (or triple!) the recipe and make it up to 48 hours in advance. Reheat to serve.
You can make this however you’d make chili in your slow cooker or Instant Pot. Just don’t add the mayo until just before serving.