07 August 2010

Cashew Chicken ...

Hurray! It's cooler and I'm feeling like firing up the wok. I'm hoping that I'll find some late bok choy and scallions at the Walpole farmer's market. I have some beautiful roasted cashews and a couple boneless chicken breasts that would make a lovely cashew chicken.  I know it's dangerous to go out to the market with a set list on produce, but we haven't had this dish in ages. Guess I'll hope for the best and be ready to adapt ...

Five hours later .... no bok choy to be had, but I did get the scallions, 'butter and sugar' corn, a half gallon of raw milk, and some basil/garlic chevre ... and then I stopped at the 'big box market'  and picked up Chinese 'Napa' cabbage as a substitute for the bok choy.

So, here we go!

After slicing and dicing the aromatics and sampling the chevre with some poppy seed crackers and a glass of chardonnay, I was ready to go for the wok! That's the thing about Asian cuisine ... it's all prep work and then you just line it all up and fire up the wok. Love it!

About this dish ... it's mellow and I love it for that reason. Cashews that have a slightly oily salty/peppery flavor. The chicken has a soft velvet coating on it, the veggies have a wilt that wraps the sauce around the meat and nuts. The sauce has a soft combination of garlic, ginger, and just a touch of spicy peppery heat. Sit all of it on jasmine rice and you don't lose any of the sauce. The rice mellows the hot pepper spice that you throw in to the aromatics. Yum...

Cashew Chicken


¼ c. soy sauce
¼ c. dry sherry and 1 tsp. dry white wine
¼ c. chicken broth
1 ½ tsp. cornstarch plus another 1 tsp. for velveting chicken
2 boneless chicken breasts, washed, dried, and slivered into bite-sized morsels, and velveted
2 tbsp. peanut oil and 1 tsp. sesame oil
One pinch kosher salt
One pinch black pepper
1 c. roasted cashews
4 or 5 perfect green onions (scallions), tipped and sliced on the diagonal into short little pieces
½ head of Chinese cabbage (Napa), washed, drained well, and cut into ribbons (or 1 lb bok choy - rough chop)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 inch of ginger root, peeled and minced
3 small dry ancho chilis or 6 Sechuan peppercorns
steamed jasmine rice

Making the Dish:

1. Combine the sherry, soy sauce, chicken broth and cornstarch in a measuring cup and stir well. Set aside.

2. Velvet the chicken pieces by placing them in a glass bowl and tossing them with 1 tsp. cornstarch, 1 tsp. sesame oil, and 1 tsp. dry white wine. Cover them and set them aside for ½ hour.

3. Do all the slice and dice and line the ingredients up at your wok station. Separate out the white parts of the scallions and add them to the ginger, garlic, and anchos.

4. Steam the rice and about five minutes before it is ready, begin the stir-fry.

5. Heat the wok and add 1 tbsp. peanut oil. Swirl to coat the wok and toss the cashews, salt, and black pepper for 1 minute. Remove to a plate and cool.

6. Place the wok back on the heat and add the second tbsp. of peanut oil. Swirl and add the aromatics – garlic, ginger, ancho chilis, and white scallion pieces. Stir-fry for just a minute and turn in the chicken.

7. Spread the chicken in one layer and brown it quickly on all sides, turning as needed.

8. Add the cabbage and toss to wilt … turn in the scallion greens and toss.

9. Add the sherry/soy/chicken broth and stir to thicken the sauce. Optional: Add just a pinch of five-spice powder.

10.Top with the cashews and serve with steamed rice on the side.


  1. this looks really good and fresh and tasty... I may have to put it on my cook list for next week, thanks for the recipe x

  2. Still too hot for me to pull out the pans! It's strictly salads and grilling ... will save this one for a cool fall night.

  3. Very nice recipe to try, love the flavor of cashews, they add something exotic to a meal.


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