Food & Drink Magazine

Waking up from Post Thanksgiving Haze ~ Asian Style Stir-fry Cashew Chicken

By Weavethousandflavors

 

Asian style Cashew Chicken
 

It's official! I am suffering from PTGS - Post Traumatic Guest Syndrome

We've had a houseful of friends Thanksgiving week and what a blast it's been! 6 growns-ups, 4 kids and 1 very big dog - 'nuf said. But after a week of  laughter, gossip, tall tales and avoidable ones, brunches, large Thanksgiving feasts,  meals, meals and more meals, hours of sightseeing, hot cups of chai, beer and wine  flowing at the rate of our very own personal river and whining kids, the last of the guests have gone.

And that leaves me with the dirties -  dishes, laundry, you name it and it needs washing, a refrigerator filled with useless sugary delights and a mound of turkey - none of which can be put together to make one decent meal.

So what do I do? I bury my head in my goose-down and go for a zzz.....a long 12 hour zzz...wake up and do some more zzz....ing. It has now been 48 hours and even I am running out of excuses for not creating a hot dinner. If it were up to me, I'll keep eating that cold turkey and stay in bed for another week. But it's not! I have a hubby who got up and went to work and kids that went to school and so I too must do just that - get up!

And what's on the menu tonight? Chinese.

Not the 'authentic' Chinese but the anglicized, take-away China King type grub - homemade.

Delicious, somewhat greasy and always comforting, on such evenings, I turn towards my roots and my love for dhaaba or roadside eats and whip this up in  jiffy. Recognizable in its Chinese roots, I would draw the line authenticity there and no further. This one is all about a little bit of this and a little bit of that and full on flavor.

On days like tonight, this hits the spot. It's either this or cold turkey!

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Here is what you'll need to whip this up -

boneless, skinless chicken thighs (stay away from chicken breasts on this one or they'll turn up a dry stir-fry), fresh celery roasted unsalted whole cashews, yellow onion, green bell pepper, red or orange bell pepper, fresh ginger root, garlic cloves, cornstarch, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, whole red dried chillies, vegetable oil, fresh cilantro for garnish and salt.

Prepare all the ingredients before moving to the stove -

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Chicken - Cut away and discard any excess fat from the chicken. Cut into 3/4" cubes. Place the chicken in a mixing bowl.

Add sesame oil, corn starch, salt, pepper and sugar and thoroughly mix to coat the chicken. Set aside to marinate.

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Ginger & Garlic - Roughly chop the ginger (I do not peel) and along with peeled  garlic cloves, add to small food processor or mini-chopper. Finely chop and set aside.

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Onions - Peel, discard ends and skin. Dice into 1/2" pieces and set aside.

Celery - Discard the brown top tips, leaves and bottom 1-1/2" white part. Cut each stalk into 3 lengths. Chop into 1/4" pieces and set aside.

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Bell pepper - Discard the top, membranes and seeds. Dice into 1/2" pieces and set aside along with the onions.

Dried red chillies - De-seed, leave whole and set aside.

Sauces - Combine the soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce and water. Stir to dissolve sugar and set aside.

Cornstarch - In a bowl combine the cornstarch and cold water. Stir to dissolve and set aside.

Cashew nuts - Measure and set aside.

Surround yourself with all the ingredients and keep the vegetable oil handy before starting at the stove.

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In a large heavy bottomed saute pan or wok (if you have a wok burner), add 1 /2 tbs vegetable oil and heat for 30 seconds.

Add the cashew nuts and on low heat saute for another 30 seconds till the cashew gets a glossy look and is lightly brown. Remove immediately to a clean bowl and set aside.

Increase the heat to high and keep it there.

Add 2 tbs vegetable oil and heat for another 30 seconds. Add the marinated chicken and saute for about 2 minutes until the chicken turns pale white.

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Do not over cook the chicken and immediately remove to the bowl that you were using for the chicken. Set aside.

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To the same pan or wok, add another 3 tbs oil and add ginger garlic paste. Saute for a few seconds and add the onions and celery.

Saute for about 2 minutes and add the red and green bell pepper.

Saute for about another 4 minutes until the onions and bell peppers have softened. Stir regularly not allowing the vegetables to stick to the bottom of the pan or brown irregularly.

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Return the chicken to the pan and stir. Give the sauces a mix and pour into the pan.

Stir to thoroughly coat. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Stir the cornstarch and water mixture so the cornstarch is not sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Add to the pan and stir vigorously as the sauce thickens.

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Add the sauteed cashew nuts and stir to combine.

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Add 1 tsp sesame oil and stir.

Remove the pan from the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Asian style Stir-fry Cashew Chicken

What's not to love?

Fresh ingredients nestled in a slightly spicy, tangy sauce with just the right hint of sweetness. The cashews with their crunch and natural sweetness add a delicious bite all the way.

Asian comfort food at its best over bowls of hot, freshly cooked rice.

Recipe for

Asian style Stir-fry Cashew Chicken

Preparation time - 15 minutes

Cooking Time - 15 minutes

Serves 4-6

Shopping list

5 large skinless, boneless chicken thighs

3 large stalks fresh celery

1-1/2 cups roasted unsalted whole cashews

1 large yellow onion

1 green bell pepper

1/2 large or 1 small red or orange bell pepper

3 whole red dried chillies

1" piece fresh ginger root

5 garlic cloves

5-1/2 tbs vegetable oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cornstarch with 1 tbs water

fresh cilantro for garnish

Marinade -

1-1/2 tsp sesame oil

1-1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Sauce-

2-1/2 sugar

2 tbs dark soy sauce

2 tbs oyster sauce

2 tbs water

Preparation -

Prepare all the ingredients before moving to the stove -

Chicken - Cut away and discard any excess fat from the chicken. Cut into 3/4" cubes. Place the chicken in a mixing bowl.

Add sesame oil, corn starch, salt, pepper and sugar and thoroughly mix to coat the chicken. Set aside to marinate.

Ginger & Garlic - Roughly chop the ginger (I do not peel) and along with peeled  garlic cloves, add to small food processor or mini-chopper. Finely chop and set aside.

Onions - Peel, discard ends and skin. Dice into 1/2" pieces and set aside.

Celery - Discard the brown top tips, leaves and bottom 1-1/2" white part. Cut each stalk into 3 lengths. Chop into 1/4" pieces and set aside.

Bell pepper - Discard the top, membranes and seeds. Dice into 1/2" pieces and set aside along with the onions.

Dried red chillies - De-seed, leave whole and set aside.

Sauces - Combine the soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce and water. Stir to dissolve sugar and set aside.

Cornstarch - In a bowl combine the cornstarch and cold water. Stir to dissolve and set aside.

Cashew nuts - Measure and set aside.

Cooking Method-

Surround yourself with all the ingredients and keep the vegetable oil handy before starting at the stove.

In a large heavy bottomed saute pan or wok (if you have a wok burner), add 1 /2 tbs vegetable oil and heat for 30 seconds.

Add the cashew nuts and on low heat saute for another 30 seconds till the cashew gets a glossy look and is lightly brown. Remove immediately to a clean bowl and set aside.

Increase the heat to high and keep it there.

Add 2 tbs vegetable oil and heat for another 30 seconds. Add the marinated chicken and saute for about 2 minutes until the chicken turns pale white.

Do not over cook the chicken and immediately remove to the bowl that you were using for the chicken. Set aside.

To the same pan or wok, add another 3 tbs oil and add ginger garlic paste. Saute for a few seconds and add the onions and celery.

Saute for about 2 minutes and add the red and green bell pepper.

Saute for about another 4 minutes until the onions and bell peppers have softened. Stir regularly not allowing the vegetables to stick to the bottom of the pan or brown irregularly.

Return the chicken to the pan and stir. Give the sauces a mix and pour into the pan.

Stir to thoroughly coat. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Stir the cornstarch and water mixture so the cornstarch is not sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Add to the pan and stir vigorously as the sauce thickens.

Add the sauteed cashew nuts and stir to combine.

Add 1 tsp sesame oil and stir.

Remove the pan from the heat and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.

Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Enjoy!


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