Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cashew Chicken

It's officially autumn in Quebec which means apple picking, photo worthy foliage and an abundance of rain. For me this season also brings cravings for duck, pumpkin anything and Chinese food. This recipe for cashew chicken makes a delicious supper. It's not heavy on sauce like what is served in most North American Chinese restaurants.

The chicken is marinated in a corn starch mixture then poached in stock. This Chinese cooking technique is called velveting. It is typically done in hot oil or water. I have used stock to add flavor and reduce the amount of oil traditionally used in this dish. Adding this step prior to stir-frying makes the chicken really tender. 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or pale dry sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 green bell pepper
2 stalks celery
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Steamed brown rice, to serve

In a small bowl mix together the corn starch, rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the chicken to the corn starch mixture and set aside to marinate for about 15 minutes.

Cut the green bell pepper and celery into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

In a wok over medium heat, toast the cashews. This will take a couple of minutes. Watch the nuts closely so they do not burn. Set aside.

Bring the chicken stock to simmer over medium heat in the wok. Add the cubed chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Drain most of the excess liquid from the wok.

Add the bell pepper and celery. Add all the ingredients for the sauce. Cook for 5 minutes.

Serve over steamed brown rice and top with toasted cashews.

Note: For more sauce, add more of each "sauce" ingredient or drain less of the poaching liquid. Add more soy sauce for a saltier taste but take into consideration whether you have used reduced sodium soy sauce or stock initially or salted cashews.

Serves 4 

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