Everyday Food (October 2009)
Just yesterday, one of Zach's co-workers asked, "Have you guys cooked anything recently that you really loved?"
That was, until we made this Cashew Chicken last night.
Guys? We can say it: We loved this chicken!
Think of your favorite dish from your favorite Chinese place (assuming, for the purposes of this exercise, that your favorite dish is Cashew Chicken). Now imagine it healthier and better tasting, with fresher ingredients. (Oh, and it's less expensive.) That's this Cashew Chicken!
The chicken itself cooked up perfectly, juicy and golden brown. The 30-minute marinade in sherry and ginger really turns up the flavor of the meat and keeps it nice and moist.
The final result is really perfect -- everything you're looking for in a Chinese dish. The cashews add a sweet nutty flavor and an awesome crunch, and the scallions keep everything tasting fresh. When we make this dish again -- and we will -- we might add just a little bit of heat, maybe some red pepper flakes or a teaspoon of Sriracha. But really, this chicken is pretty great as it is.
And as a bonus it all comes together in about the same time you could get it delivered.
So next time you're craving Chinese, skip the delivery and give this recipe a try. We think you'll be in love, too.
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons dry sherry (or cooking wine, or leave out)
2 tsp. minced, peeled, fresh ginger
3 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup unsalted cashews, toasted
2 green onions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
In a medium bowl, toss chicken with sherry, ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch; season with salt. Refrigerate 30 minutes. In another bowl, combine broth, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Set sauce aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a covered plate. Add 1 teaspoon oil to skillet and cook remaining chicken (reduce heat if chicken is over-browning). Transfer to plate.
To same skillet, add 1 teaspoon oil, garlic, cashews, and green onion whites. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic begins to soften, about 30 seconds. Whisk sauce and add to skillet along with chicken. Cook until sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Top with green onion greens and serve with rice or noodles.