stir fry chicken and cashews
the first time ever I saw your face
Like many Americans, one of my favorite Asian dishes to order is Cashew Chicken. The owner of a local restaurant complained to me about this one day. “You don’t even look at menu, you just order Cashew Chicken.” Not true. Sometimes I order chicken with almonds. But she’s the one with the hot tray of food, so I didn’t want to argue with her.
To please her I ordered Moo Goo Gai Pan, which was delicious, but I missed my cashews. As soon as I got home I searched for a recipe to make my own Cashew Chicken. (Is this “passive-aggressive” behavior or “compulsion-to-please” behavior? Ah well, why name the neurosis? Just go with it…)
whisk broth mixture and set aside
peel and grate fresh ginger
saute veggies while chicken is resting
I found this recipe on “My Recipes” which is a website that includes the Eating Light folks. Not a bad idea, lower sodium and low fat. I’ve made this twice now and we’ve been very pleased with the results.
It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it goes together in minutes. If you have a bit more time, you can let the chicken soak in the wine sauce for a few minutes. You could even do this step in the morning and cover the chicken-happily-soaking-in-wine-sauce and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.
First two- no three – tips
dry roast your cashews
• Rice – I make a pot of brown rice nearly every week. It heats up quickly in the microwave and can easily be dressed up to make rice pilaf or used plain with dishes like this one.
• Cashews – The recipe calls for dry roasted without salt. I purchased raw cashews and placed them on a clean, ungreased bar pan. I popped them into an oven at 300 degrees for about 7-9 minutes. Voila! Dry roasted nuts. I do this on a regular basis with walnuts too and then I keep them in a baggie in the fridge to adorn my morning oatmeal. Watch them so they don’t burn.
• Rest the chicken – Many recipes call for us to start browning chicken and then to let it rest. Apparently it helps the chicken be juicier and more tender. (I know I’m a lot more tender if I get a rest.) So just set it in a bowl for a few minutes.
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces.
3 TBS soy sauce, low-sodium, divided
2 TBS red wine or dry sherry
4 tsp corn starch, divided
½ cup chicken broth, low sodium
1 TBS honey
1 TBS sesame oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 stalks chopped celery
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped – or green pepper
1 TBS grated peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 green onions, chopped
¼ cup dry roasted cashews
Combine 1 TBS soy sauce, wine and 2 tsp corn starch in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Set it aside. (At this point, you could have a glass of wine or check e-mail, if you like. Or you could continue to cook. Just wanted to give you options.)
Combine the remaining soy sauce, corn starch, broth, and honey in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat 2 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Add chicken mixture to pan. Sauté for three minutes.
Remove chicken from pan to rest. (See Tip #3 above.)
Heat remaining oil in pan.
Add vegetables and sauté for two minutes.
Add ginger and garlic and sauté another minute.
Return chicken to pan. (We love a good reunion!)
Stir in broth-soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Cook another minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Serve with raw green onions and cashews sprinkled on top.
The crunch of the cashews with the tender chicken will dance happily in your mouth. The green onions will play off the spices in the sauce. You, too, can now order something else when you eat at an Asian restaurant, because THIS will become your favorite cashew chicken. Enjoy!