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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chinese Chicken with Cashews



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I'm not sure there is anything more American than Chinese take-out food. Most of our Chinese favorites bear no resemblance to the food that's actually served in China, but those menu standards have worked their way to the American table, and they've refuse to surrender their seats when new foods and other cuisines have come to town. Why do we hang on to these old favorites? I have a hunch they were nursery food for many of us. They exposed us to what seemed exotic in a safe and non-threatening environment, and, for the older among us anyway, they were treats and associated with special occasions. There was one restaurant in the neighborhood where I was raised. It was run by a Chinese couple who lived in the back of the store, and on my fourth birthday, they introduced me to the wonders of egg foo yung, chop suey and fortune cookies. I was hooked and it is an addiction I've never quite overcome. I have a stash of classic carryout recipes that are among the most used in my files. I love them because they are quick, easy and reliable and they were the spark that kindled my interest in Asia and began my great love affair with the region, its food and its people. Chicken with cashews is a classic Chinese-American dish. It's called a stir-fry but that really is a misnomer. Chinese food is tossed not stirred and the only trick to this type of cooking is advanced preparation. If an ingredient is going into the wok, it must be ready to go before you fire up your pan. There is no stop and go in this type of cooking. Once you begin, it's full speed ahead. This dish is actually easy to make because it uses so few ingredient and it can be on the table in about 20 minutes. I hope those of you who like Chinese-American take-out will give this recipe a try. I think you'll find your creation is better than what you can buy and, bottom line, it certainly will have more cashews. Here's the recipe.

Chinese Chicken with Cashews...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons sherry or shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound uncooked chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
3/4 cup celery, trimmed and cut in 1/2-inch dice
1 cup dry roasted salted cashews
3 tablespoons green onions, chopped

Directions:

1) Combine sherry, water, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until ingredients are well mixed and form a smooth sauce. Set aside.
2) Heat wok or skillet over high heat. When pan is hot, add oil and swirl to coat pan. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry until shiny and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken in a single layer and cook without stirring for about 30 seconds. Toss chicken and stir-fry until chicken changes color, about 1 minute longer.
3) Add celery and stir-fry until it is bright green and chicken is cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add sherry mixture and toss well. Cook until slightly thickened.
4) Add cashews and green onions. Toss to thoroughly combine with chicken and celery. Serve immediately. Yield:4 servings.






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32 comments:

Coleens Recipes said...

I think even picky picky husband would love this (he loves cashews). Thank you for sharing.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

A great combination, this is a definite recipe for my 'to do' list. Thanks Diane

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

I would enjoy this, as well as the orange ginger chicken in the "you might also like":@)

What's Baking?? said...

You do us Chinese proud Mary. What a beautiful dish! Each time I have this, I'll go for the cashews first! lol

Martha said...

Here on the prairie there is a dish called "Springfield Cashew Chicken" -- invented in Springfield, Missouri to introduce midwesterners to Asian cuisine. Battered deep fried cubes of chicken, a soy sauce "gravy", topped with cashews and green onions. You'll find that dish in no other part of America. But it got those midwesterners to accept Chinese food and venture out into more traditional dishes like your cashew chicken!

Grubarazzi said...

What a classic, happy recipe. I love the story that goes along with it :)

Susan said...

A wonderful quick recipe. I always love your stories. My childhood was so different. If I were to guess, I was probably married before I ate my first authentic Chinese food. La Choy Chicken Chow Main in a can does not count, does it? That can was the only Oriental cooking in my youth. I do love it and we stir fry often to clean the vegetable drawer with no specific recipe. Susan

ImSoVintage said...

Mary, this is one of my favorites. I will definitely have to pin this so I can make it soon. Hope you are doing well.
Laura

Annie Oakley's Kitchen said...

It's true, Chinese take out is so very American! I love that this is a quick one, perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Shug said...

We now have a Chinese food business right here in our small town. The drive Thur is always busy, so I do believe there is a huge number of folks that really like it..
Glad you shared this recipe. I do want to try it out...
Have a wonderful Sunday...

anne said...

Mary , you're right about that "more cashews" hahaha I love this dish ! Last time I cook the same dish but with shrimps :D

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I'm so glad you began this love affair at age four... so that it would bring you down the path to sharing these kind of recipes with us!! blessings ~ tanna

Debby Foodiewife said...

It amazes me how you come up with, what seems, a recipe a day. What a recipe file you must have! My Chinese friends says that the food we get is very different than from her home country. No matter what, I get cravings for this kind of American-Chinese food. It's nice to know I can make it, and I won't have MSG either. Thanks!

Claudia said...

One of my favorite take-out items! I've never made it - but this does look simple enough. Love dishes where all must be assembled ahead of time and then bing! bang! you're done!

Pondside said...

My mum used to make 'Chinese Food' when I was girl and all my friends thought I was just the luckiest. I don't know why she decided that this would be her go-to party food when she had a wonderful repertoire of Lebanese menus. Anyway, it was always a huge treat!

Chelsea said...

American Chinese food really is the best! This sounds fantastic!

The Café Sucré Farine said...

Yum! Asian food is one thing I never get tired of - I could probably eat it every day - this looks wonderful!

Rosita Vargas said...

María es na gran receta muy completa gracias por compartir la prepararé pronto,bendiciones para usted,abrazos hugs,hugs.

Priya said...

Feel like finishing this fabulous dish.

Chiara Giglio said...

This sounds fantastic!have a good week..

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

This is a thing of beauty - it looks like takeout perfection!

tender b. said...

This makes me think of the band Barenaked Ladies as they sing about Chinese Chicken.

Joanne said...

I'd always rather make take-out at home than order in...it always tastes better that way!

Kim said...

Love chicken and cashew... So I love your recipe!

David said...

Mary, I love Chinese food and this is about as simple and straightforward as a chinese meal can be. Thanks for the recipe! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Au and Target said...

I ate this in China and I do love it! They also make a spicy version with peanuts and dried chilies.

Angie's Recipes said...

Who wouldn't love this! I LOVE the combo of chicken and CASHEWS!

Jeannie Tay said...

Yes, this is a very delicious and easy recipe to prepare, I just love easy recipes:D

Jenn said...

Love that first line.. nothing more American then Chinese take out! lol
But I will agree with you there.. seems everyone loves it for sure. I just made a cashew chicken recently too! Yours looks fantastic!

All Things Yummy said...

Looks delicious. I love cashews.

Veronica Miller said...

"I'm not sure there is anything more American than Chinese take-out food." LOVE IT-so true! This looks so great!

spidercamp said...

Just made this recipe and it is absolutely fantastic. I don't have a lot of experience with sauces and this is the best, easiest Chinese sauce I've ever made - thank you! I'm sure I will return many times to this recipe.

Also, wanted to point out that pepper doesn't appear in the list of ingredients, but is mentioned in the recipe. Obviously no big deal though!

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