Wok Wednesdays: chinese burmese chili chicken

Have you ever made a recipe that made you want to run out in your front yard and yell “I just made the best lunch ever!”? That happened when I made this stir-fry yesterday. My friend Rob invited me to join him on a new culinary journey with a group of folks cooking their way through Grace Young’s Stir-frying to the Sky’s Edge on Wok Wednesdays.  I am very excited to be a part of this group since it lines up wonderfully with the paleo lifestyle. Being a newbie to this paleo thing and stir-frying, I find myself in exciting culinary journey of learning this ancient cooking style, and finding ways to tweak the recipes to align more with paleo ingredients. Mind you not much tweaking needs to be done here, but follow along with me as I experiment with ingredients that are completely new to my kitchen.

This week’s recipe is hosted on Cathy’s site My Culinary Mission. We all pinkie swore not to post the recipes on our site unless we were the host, please go buy the book, you will not regret having it in your kitchen. Here is the recipe for  Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken on Cathy’s site.

mason mise en place

MASON JAR TIP for STIR-FRYING–  Although quick to cook, stir-fries are a pain to prep. So much chopping. The best thing to do is chop and store your ingredients ahead of time. I created my Mason Mise en Place (putting in place) on Sunday, when I had extra time, stored them in my refrigerator, and prepared the dish very quickly after my workout on Tuesday. Did you get that? I stir-fried my ingredients 48 hours after I prepped them.  Prepare your stir-fries days earlier, such as on the weekends when you have time, to quickly stir-fry on a busy weeknight when time is sparse.  When it was time to stir-fry, I lined my jars up like little soldiers on my counter top in order of use in the recipe. Like this…

Mason Mise en Place for Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken
Jar 1: wide-mouth pint, chopped onions
Jar 2: quart jar, sliced chicken thighs
Jar 3: 4 ounce jar, salt, kuzu**, pepper
Mix Jars 2 and 3 in a bowl and line up next to stove after Jar 1.
Jar 4:  4 ounce jar, ginger, garlic, paprika, cumin
Jar 5: wide-mouth pint, orange and yellow bell peppers- the recipe called for green, I don’t like green
Jar 6: wide-mouth pint, zucchini, Anaheim pepper, and fish sauce**, salt

Place your fish sauce, oil, extra salt, extra kuzu,  and chili powder bottle on the counter to add to recipe when stated. See below for starred** ingredients.

Paleo Changes to the Recipe
Avocado Oil– in place of the peanut or vegetable oil, I chose to go with avocado oil, one of the healthy oils of the paleo lifestyle. This stuff is pricey but so delicious. Another high heat oil that would have worked nicely with this recipe is coconut oil.

KuzuKuzu is a starch from the root of the kuzu plant used in Asian cooking for over 2000 years. It is a wonderful thickener in place of flour and cornstarch, and along with arrowroot, is one of the thickeners welcome in the paleo lifestyle. I used it as I would have cornstarch in this recipe and did not change the measurement amounts- you have to eyeball it when measuring since it is chunky. Since it is chunky, and  when I placed it in Jar 3 with the salt and pepper, I quickly gave it a few taps with my pestle to break it up, worked like a charm.  Kuzu can be found at Whole Foods or your local health food store.  Tropical Traditions carry single packs as well.

Fish Sauce– I used a bottle I had purchased from Whole Foods, meh. It contained fish extract (wha?), sugar, and salt. After reading Nom Nom Paleo’s review of Red Boat Fish Sauce, I will be ordering that one for the next WW stir-fry that calls for fish sauce.  Red Boat contains only black anchovies and sea salt, so a small amount goes a long way. This stuff is pricey and will be treated like an aged bottle of Scotch for sure!

Here is an action shot of the stir-frying. I had it on the wall, floor, my shirt, and in my  hair- good times! I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. I told Rob that I even licked the plate! The flavors were spot on with a touch of heat. On every  bite I was able to detect each and every ingredient. The miracle? I ate zucchini and liked it. My cook top does not get as hot as I would like for stir-frying, so the dish took a bit longer than described in the recipe- no biggie, it was worth the wait.

For the Wok Wednesday recipes, I will be enjoying them along with my Stir-fried Cauliflower Rice, video recipe tomorrow.
Please view my VIDEO- “the fastest way to “rice” cauliflower” so that you too can cook along with me.

More Mason Jar Meal Tips and Recipes, click here.

More Paleo Recipes, click here.

Another way BRK is Keepin’ it GLASSY!


  1. Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    i am so drooling right now…the anaheim peppers sound ridiculous!

  2. jenn
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

    hey robin sue, i’m wondering how you’re coping with the impact paleo is having on your food budget. perhaps you’re not seeing a spike, but my bill went up almost $200 each of the 2 months we’ve been doing it, and it doesn’t seem like we’re eat that much more meat. real food is more expensive, and my husband’s on board, but i’m wondering if you have any suggestions. we’re a small family of 3 and the 17 yr old isn’t along for this ride, so shopping at costco doesn’t seem worth it (besides the fact that it’s 20 miles to the closest one!). thoughts?

    • Robin Sue
      Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

      Hey Jenn
      I am using cheaper cuts of meat like London broil, eye rounds, chicken thighs, or roasting a whole chicken- which is the most economical way. Our market sometimes have nice specials on seafood and I can buy extra and freeze it if it has never been previously frozen. Veggies- I buy enough to last a few days so we aren’t wasting them- frozen veggies can be a budget saver. Large fruits cut up are economical like melons. Lettuce, spinach and veggies go a long way in salads. Roasted whole swwet potatoes, spaghetti squash, acorn or summer squashes are cheap when you do them yourself rather than buying them precut. Cabbage both white and red go a long way in recipes and soups. Now soups are probably the most cost effective dishes to make as well as stir-fries. I will have to do a post on this and get other’s ideas.
      Great question!

  3. Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    That’s such a great idea to prep ingredients ahead of time and put them in mason jars! I’m definitely going to do that next time. Prep on a Sunday, cook on a Tuesday…genius!

    • Robin Sue
      Posted May 31, 2012 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

      Thanks Matt!

  4. Posted May 30, 2012 at 6:15 PM | Permalink

    Loved this recipe! I had to text the hubby as soon as it was done to say how fabulous this was. Nice photos.

  5. Posted May 31, 2012 at 6:19 AM | Permalink

    Hey Robin… Been a bot since I stopped in to say hey! Love the tip on prep. I waver from a zen appreciation, even enjoyment for the task and just a pain in the … well, as you said.

    And as usual, such STUNNING photos!


    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 2, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

      Thanks Dave, yes it has been a while for both of us to exchange “hello’s”! We are both busy cooking our tookus’ off!!

  6. Posted May 31, 2012 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    I love the Mason Jar idea, and I will definitely be using that in the future. And I’m glad you posted the Califlower Rice video — I’m not sure the blog posts would have sold me, but now I’m sold. I’m gonna try it today! Who knows, that might be our new stir-fry companion, too…

    • Robin Sue
      Posted May 31, 2012 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

      I think there will be a ton of cauli rice in my future. Love this stir-fry and the leftovers were fantastic!

  7. Posted May 31, 2012 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    I LOVE the idea of the Mason Mise en Place! And your photo is great. Nancie McDermott introduced me to Red Boat Fish Sauce. It’s apparently only available online and I’ve been meaning to order it. Glad you had such a positive stir-fry experience!

    • Robin Sue
      Posted May 31, 2012 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

      Thank you Grace! Your book is beautiful to cook through, and I look forward to the rest of the journey with fellow Wok Wednesday pioneers!

  8. jason
    Posted June 1, 2012 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

    Are you putting the rubber seal down when you are closing the mason jars?

    How long can you get the prepped veggies to last so far?


    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 1, 2012 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

      Hi Jason, I am using the regular mason jar two part lid- the lid and band. I would keep this stir-fry prep up to 3 days.
      Robin Sue

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] the main ingredients stayed substantial while releasing that marvelously tasty rust-colored sauce. Big Red Kitchen has a smart, cool and pretty idea for stir-fry prep: organizing your mis en place in […]

  2. […] love the tip Big Red Kitchen came up with for putting your prepped stir-fry ingredients in mason jars or the tip from Mother Would Know for using a post it cheat sheet with a rough breakdown of the […]

  3. […] the main ingredients stayed substantial while releasing that marvelously tasty rust-colored sauce. Big Red Kitchen has a smart, cool and pretty idea for stir-fry prep: organizing your mis en place in […]

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