Cashew Chicken was one of my favorite childhood dishes because of my love for cashew nuts. Growing up, I didn’t like chicken that much so I would pick out all the cashew nuts in the dish and eat them with my rice. As the years have passed I have formed a strong affinity for chicken, especially the tender, silky, velvety chicken meat served at Chinese restaurants. Somehow, home-cooked chicken just couldn’t compare, the texture was never as smooth as the ones served at restaurants. I resolved to unlock the secret technique used at Chinese restaurants and the answer is baking soda.
Serves 2 as a main dish with rice or 4 as part of a multi-course meal
- 10 oz (330 g) skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) cubes
- 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or sherry
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons oil
- One 1 in (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 small green bell pepper, cut into pieces
- 1/2 small red bell pepper, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup (75 g) roasted cashew nuts
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or sherry
- 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 dashes white pepper
- Treat the chicken according to “How to Tenderize Meat” on Page 12. This is an optional step.
- Marinate the chicken with the rice wine or sherry and cornstarch for 10 minutes.
- Mix all the ingredients for the Sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry until half-cooked or the surface turns opaque. Dish out and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in the wok or skillet over high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, add in the ginger, green and red bell peppers.
- Stir-fry the ingredients until you smell the peppery aroma from the bell peppers, and then add the chicken back into the wok or skillet. Pour in the Sauce and stir continuously until the chicken meat is cooked and well coated with the Sauce.
- Add the cashew nuts and do a few quick stirs. Add the salt to taste and stir to blend well. Dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.
COOK’S NOTE: If you like your Cashew Chicken with more sauce, double the portion of the Sauce.
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