Alright! This week’s meal prep was only for dinners and consists of a Szechuan chicken stir fry, quinoa, and steamed veggies. This meal is AMAZING. The sauce on the stir fry is sweet with an amazing spice that is different from any other spice I have had. The condensed recipe and grocery list can be found at the bottom of this post. Additionally, I provided an alternative sauce recipe if you don’t want to look into mala pot sauces! I didn’t need to prep lunches this week due to meetings with catered lunch and lunch dates with friends.
The reasoning for this meal is courtesy of my dad being an awesome human being. My parents treated me and one of my friends to dinner at a restaurant in Houston called Mala Sichuan a couple of weeks ago. After leaving the restaurant, my parents could not get over the flavors of the food we ate! The spice was so different than anything we normally eat. Fast forward a week and I came home from school to find a package on my porch. In that package? Mala pot sauce to use in stir fry! I immediately began planning my meal prep for this week to be centered around the pot sauce.
So, what is mala pot sauce exactly? Well, the term mala is derived from the two Chinese characters “麻” (má) meaning numbing and “辣” (là) meaning spicy/hot. The sauce contains Sichuan peppercorns, giving it a characteristic numbing spice due to the presence of hydroxy alpha sanshool in the peppercorns. This molecule derives its name from the Japanese term “山椒” (sanshō) for the Sichuan pepper and the suffix -ol used for alcohol molecules. It is a thick and oily sauce that is used in many different ways for different dishes. The origin of the dish isn’t completely known, but the dish is believed to have originated in night markets targeted towards pier workers in Chongqing. These markets typically had cheap foods and ingredients. The mala sauce was able to mask the smells of these foods and the oil helped in preservation. This is the sauce I used for my recipe, it has a wonderful sweet flavor followed by that amazing numbness caused by the Sichuan peppercorns.
So, now that I’ve dropped a knowledge bomb all over your face, let’s get onto the reason you are on this blog, the meal! The first step to this meal prep, just like to any other meal prep, was to turn my bluetooth speaker all the way up and rock a Spotify playlist. I shamelessly linked my playlist in the recipe directions at the bottom of this post. Hit me up with a follow and send me your favorite playlist! I enjoy new music just as much as I enjoy a new recipe! The next step: prepping the ingredients.
So, for the stir fry, I used chicken breast as my protein, yellow bell pepper and onion as my stir fry vegetables, green onion for garnish, and then ginger and garlic because is any dish complete without almost an entire bulb of garlic in it? I chose the yellow bell pepper for its color and its sweet flavor to pair with the spice of the sauce. I chose the onion because I absolutely love onion. I didn’t use more vegetables because I knew I would be having steamed vegetables in addition to the stir fry.
When prepping ingredients to stir fry, there is one very important thing to keep in mind- try to cut everything to about the same size! Stir frying involves cooking quickly at high heats. Cutting your veggies to the same size ensures that they will all cook at the same rate. I, admittedly, didn’t do a great job at this as seen in the picture. Be better than me. It is extremely important to cut your chicken into equal size cubes, otherwise you risk having some chicken cubes that are still clucking and other chicken cubes that are dryer than Camp Green Lake.
Just a quick tip for the ginger- removing the skin from the root is super simple with a spoon! Just make sure not to drop your ginger knob in the trash like I did….. at least I bought extra ginger just in case.
In addition to the stir fry, I cooked some quinoa. I chose tricolor quinoa because look at how SEXY that quinoa looks compared to single color quinoa!
Anyways, the first step of prepping the quinoa involves washing the quinoa with cold water until the water runs clear. Quinoa is coated in saponins, a group of amphipathic glycosides that produce a soap-like foam in aqueous solutions (saponins…. saponification….. soap!). Without washing the saponins off of the quinoa, there is a chance that your dish may have a bitter, soapy aftertaste. I placed the quinoa in a mesh strainer over a big glass bowl in order to see when the water ran clear. When I cooked the quinoa, I used one part chicken stock to one part water for the liquid. This gave the quinoa a subtle flavor upon cooking that came out really nicely in the dish.
The last part of the dish that needed prepping was the steamed vegetables. I was in a rush this week during my meal prep time, so I kinda cheated a bit. #NoShame
If you’d like to provide any feedback on the website or if you’d like to submit a recipe of your own, head on over to my contact page and leave me a comment! Happy meal prepping to all, and to all a good bite!
Szechuan Chicken Stir Fry Meal Prep Recipe
I may have made ten meals during my meal prep, but I adjusted the recipe for six meals. If you’d like to know the amounts of ingredients I used for ten meals feel free to ask!
Before beginning any cooking session, you must make sure that you are enjoying the proper drink of choice and the proper music of choice. During this meal prep, I was drinking St. Arnold’s Summer Pilsner and listening to my playlist on Spotify called “brunch.” I may have designed this playlist for cooking and enjoying brunch with friends on a beautiful Sunday morning, but it got the job done for this meal prep. Click this link to the playlist and enjoy!
- Place 1.5 cups of quinoa into a wire mesh strainer.
- Rinse the quinoa with cold water until the water runs clear.
- Measure out and pour 1.5 cups of water and 1.5 cups of chicken stock into a saucepan.
- Add the rinsed quinoa to the saucepan.
- Bring the liquid to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover the saucepan. Cook the quinoa for 15-20 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork and garnish with green onion.
Szechuan Chicken Stir Fry:
- Mince 6 cloves of garlic and a 1.5 inch knob of ginger.
- Cube 3 pounds of chicken breast and slice 3/4 of an onion and 1 yellow bell pepper into similarly sized pieces. Place the chicken breast into one bowl and the vegetables into another.
- Season the cubed chicken breast with salt and pepper.
- Cut 2 bunches of green onions into 1 inch pieces.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over high heat. Once hot, add oil to the skillet. After the oil has heated up, add the cubed chicken to the skillet. Cook until either completely cooked through or almost completely cooked through. After cooking, place the chicken aside.
- Heat up a large wok over high heat. Once heated, add about 3 tbsp oil. After the oil has heated up, add the ginger and garlic to the wok and cook until aromatic. **If you don’t have a wok, it is okay to use a large non-stick skillet.
- Add the bell pepper and onion to the wok and stir fry for approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Add the green onion to the wok and stir fry for an additional 1-2 minutes. Continue cooking the vegetable mixture without letting the texture become too soft.
- Add 6 tbsp mala pot sauce or the alternative stir fry sauce to the wok and allow to heat up while mixing with the vegetables.
- Add the cooked chicken to the wok and incorporate the sauce into the entire dish.
- Remove from heat.
Alternative Stir Fry Sauce
- Combine 4.5 tbsp brown sugar, 2 1/4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, 1.5 tbsp fish sauce, 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar, 1.5 tbsp chili paste or Sriracha, 1.5 tsp sesame oil, and 1 1/4 tsp cornstarch into a bowl and whisk together.
Szechuan Chicken Stir Fry Meal Prep Grocery List
- 1.5 cups quinoa
- 1.5 cups chicken stock
- 1 bunch green onions
Szechuan Chicken Stir Fry
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 inch knob ginger
- 3 pounds chicken breast
- 3/4 onion
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 2 bunches green onion
- 6 tbsp mala pot sauce, I used this mala pot sauce **if not making the alternative stir fry sauce
Alternative Stir Fry Sauce
- 4.5 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 1/4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp fish sauce
- 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp chili paste or Sriracha
- 1.5 tsp sesame oil
- 1 1/4 tsp cornstarch