Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday: Asian Cuisine: Cashew Chicken

I crave chinese food so intensely this pregnancy. To reduce our take-out expenses, I am learning to make it: which is somewhat cumbersome. I have never been good at Asian food outside of your mandarin chicken salad with crunchy wonton noodles. So I did some reading, I procured some oyster sauce, which is made from oysters, and went at it. The results were fantastic-- tasted even better than the restaurant cashew chicken, probably because I swapped the bell peppers out for sugar snap peas.


For the Wok:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 cup cashews
20 oz frozen sugar snap peas, thawed
1/4 TSP minced garlic
1 yellow onion, sliced stir-fry style
Red pepper flakes (for those who need a kick)

For the Sauce:
1/2 TSP cornstarch
2 TSP soy sauce
1/8 TSP ground ginger
1 TBSP oyster sauce
6 TBSP water
1/8 TSP white pepper
1 TSP white sugar
1 TSP rice vinegar
1/2 TSP sesame oil
A pinch of salt (to taste)

Random Prep Ingredients:
1 TSP baking soda
1 TSP rice vinegar
1/2 TSP cornstarch

Begin by placing your cubed chicken in a medium sized bowl. Add the baking soda, and use your hands to coat that chicken as best as you can-- it's really gross, but you'll thank me later. Let the baking soda'ed chicken sit for 15 minutes, then rinse the chicken thoroughly with water to get rid of the soda-- it took me 2 times to wash it off. Leave the chicken in that bowl and add the vinegar, let it sit for  minutes, then add the 1/2 TSP cornstarch. Work it evenly on the chicken. Mix the sauce ingredients in a separate bowl, whisk for a few minutes to dissolve cornstarch.

Heat up your wok with 1 TBSP of oil. When oil is hot, add the chicken, and cook until it's barely white, then flip it over with a spatula. Cook the other side until it is barely white, then remove the semi-cooked chicken and place it directly into the bowl with your sauce.

Add a touch more sesame oil to your wok, and sautee the onions and minced garlic until they are growing clear and fragrant. This takes maybe 5 minutes on high heat, turning them over a few times. Then add the chicken/sauce to the wok. Bring the sauce/chicken mixture to a "boil" then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, toss in the snap peas. Heat for another few more minutes, then add your cashews. Serve with basmati or jasmine rice. I lightly fried mine with an egg. I also sprinkled on some red pepper flakes because I wanted a bit more kick.

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