Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Asian Cashew Chicken

This is one of my favorite things to make! I've been making it so long that I don't even know how many changes I've made to it over the years. The original recipe came from my trusty church cookbook, and I can look it up if anyone wants it, but I don't even use it anymore since I've made this my own. The longest part of the prep comes with the chopping and slicing before anything even gets into the pan. As far as active time goes, I can get this ready is ten minutes if need be. It's fantastic for nights when you're tired and don't want to spend a lot of time making dinner.

Asian Cashew Chicken

1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (1-2 breasts also work nicely)
3 carrots
1 rib celery
1 cup broccoli
1/2 cup water chestnuts
1/2 cup cashews
1 c. orange juice
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. cornstarch
3 T. vegetable oil, divided

1. Cut chicken into strips; slice carrots and celery.
2. Stir fry carrots, broccoli, and celery in 1 T. oil for 3-4 minutes. Remove to platter/bowl.
3. Add 2 T. oil and chicken to the skillet. Stir fry 3-5 minutes.
4. Add vegetables, cashews, water chestnuts, and sauce. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until sauce thickens.

Sauce:

In a bowl, add cornstarch and pour 1/4 cup orange juice, a little at a time, stirring until smooth. Add remaining cup of OJ and soy sauce. Stir until blended.

Notes:
  • The original recipe calls for corn syrup. Completely unnecessary in my opinion. I've never made this with corn syrup and never felt like I was missing something.
  • Make the sauce first. It's easier if you've got it on hand when you're ready to add it to the stir fry.
  • I usually brown the chicken strips first before adding the veggies and sauce. This way I can be sure don't give anyone food poisoning.
  • Occassionally, I'll toast the cashews separately and add them at the last minute. I LOVE the way they smell as they're toasting, and this way none of their natural oils get lost or absorbed into the meal.
  • You can add any vegetables you want, that's the beauty of stir fry! I picked vegetables we both love that add some body, color, and flavor.
  • You can always spice this up a little more. I tend to keep it more on the mild side since that's Graham's preference.
  • I've always used my regular pan or saute pan for this with no trouble at all. If I had a wok, I'd definitely give this a whirl!
  • Serve this with rice or steamed vegetables. A bag of stir fry vegetables would also work nicely with this.

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