Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Szechuan Chicken and Veggie Bowl

I recently gave a tour of the hospital campus and it followed with lunch in the cafeteria to continue discussion. Let me add that this cafeteria is amazing, it is not your average hospital food. The special of the day was a Szechuan chicken and I remember thinking to myself that I don't think I've ever actually opted for Szechuan anything, always choosing the sweet and sour, or teriyaki version. I didn't know anything about Szechuan sauce so I asked what it was, the answer? It's spicy. I decided to try it and I found that I really loved the savory heat of the sauce. My mouth was on fire and I loved it.

In forecasting the meal plan for the week, I thought about trying my own version at home for Mr. Max. I took to and came across a few recipes that provided some good base ingredients, then continued with an inventory of our pantry/fridge to create my own recipe based on what I had and combinations I already knew we liked.

The nutrition facts for this meal are found here, calculated at If you want to try the sauce alone on your own creation, the nutrition facts for the full serving (5 servings worth) of the sauce can be found here.

Grocery List:
Yields 5 servings
  • 1 lb. chicken, cubed (about 2 chicken breasts)
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, julienned (roughly 3/4 cup of carrot shreds)
  • 4 tbsp. Safflower oil, divided (or olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 tbsp. hoisin
  • 1-2 tbsp. Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp. agave nectar 
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3/4 pack of whole wheat Udon noodles   
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
To begin, start by cooking your chicken in a large saute pan or wok. Everything will end up in the same pot so make sure you have something large enough to put it all in. Using about 2 tbsp. of safflower oil, heat to medium high and then add the chicken chunks to start cooking.

In a pot, boil water and then add the udon noodles. Cook until al dente (about 7 minutes), then drain in colander and set aside.

Once the chicken is almost cooked through, drain the skillet and then add the additional 2 tbsp. of oil. Add your onions, broccoli and bell pepper. Cover and let cook for about 5-6 minutes, allowing the veggies to soften and the chicken to finish cooking, then add the julienned carrot and cover again for an addition 3-4 minutes.

As you wait on your veggies to cook, begin the Szechuan sauce. Combine the tamari, hoisin, sriracha, agave, green onion, garlic and the melted butter in a dish. I rarely ever cook with butter but I needed an agent that would enrich the sauce, providing another dimension of flavor while also thickening it, clearly butter was the answer! When veggies and chicken are done, add the noodles to the pan and toss together with the sauce. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, I lightly dusted the pan, the sriracha was already working in the sauce but it just needed one more punch.

Plate and serve, using additional green onions as garnish if you prefer. Enjoy!

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