White Chili White Chili

White Chili White ChiliWhite Chili. It’s the title of this dish but also the key ingredient.

When I created this recipe I had two things in mind. Chili needs meat, (but I also like beans in mine), and chili should taste like chilies. Keeping things white, the protein of choice, chicken, was easy, but how to have a classic chili flavor without red chilies and tomatoes was more of a challenge. That is where white chili powder came into play, which I paired with tomatillos and fresh green chilies to finish things off.

Deep White Chili Powder

You can find white chili powder in the Indian section of many international markets.

The white chili powder that I’m using, I found in the Indian section of an international market. It doesn’t exactly tell me what it’s made from, but I have some suspicions. There are two words there, white chili and powder. From what I gather, it contains white kanthari chilies that are grown in Kerala, India. They are a type of bird’s eye chili and are known to be very hot. This powder, however, I find to be rather mild. With this, I can then assume there have been other ingredients added to the ground chilies. It’s just the same way that grinding whole california chilies to a powder for your dish is very different than using pre-manufactured ‘chili powder’. Chili Powder, that common redish-brown stuff, actually contains other ingredients to offer a rounded flavor; namely cumin and onion powder. I believe, based on the flavor and the way it reacts to boiled water, that this white chili powder contains some flour, thus bringing down the heat, and presumably the cost, as it is rather cheap.

White Chili, White Chili

By: Semiserious Chefs
Serves: 6-8


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 pound of small white beans
  • 6 cups chicken stock; divided
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 pablano chili; chopped
  • 1 Anaheim chili; chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion; chopped
  • 10 tomatillos; chopped
  • 6 large garlic cloves; minced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 t course ground white pepper
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t coriander
  • 1 1/2 T white chili powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • chopped onion, avocado, cilantro, and radish for garnish


  1. Put your pound of beans directly from the bag into a large pot with the chicken breasts, 4 cups of chicken stock, and 4 cups of water. You do not need to pre-soak the beans for this recipe. Bring this to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. The beans will need to simmer for an hour and half, while the chicken can be removed after 20 minutes, allowed to cool, and pulled using two forks. Set the chicken aside.
  2. Toward the end of your simmer time, add the chopped chilies, onion, tomatillos, and garlic to a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil and saute over medium-high until just tender. This will bring out great toasted flavors for your chili.
  3. When the initial simmer is done, add the sauteed vegetables, pulled chicken, remaining 2 cups of chicken stock, milk, heavy cream, white pepper, cumin, coriander, white chili powder, and salt to the beans and return to a simmer for an additional 30-40 minutes, until the beans are completely tender and the sauce has thickened.
  4. Serve with garnishes of choice, and enjoy! This chili can also be used to fill soft or hard taco shells.

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