Friday, May 22, 2009

Cashew Chicken

I got this recipe from my mom, and it's become one of my "old stand-bys." I often have the ingredients on hand, and it's easy to whip up for a weeknight dinner.

The bulk of the work in this recipe is in the chopping. As with any stir fry, things cook quickly, so you want to have all your ingredients chopped and stirred and ready to go.

First, I put a pot of rice on to cook. Then I chop all the veggies. The original recipe doesn't call for mushrooms, but I love Chinese food with fresh mushrooms, so I've added them. This recipe makes 5-6 servings and is very meat-intensive. If you wanted to stretch it further, you could add more vegetables. I think zucchini, broccoli, and asparagus would all be good. (I tend to use those vegetables, but I serve them on the side.)

Here's the vegetables I use: green onion, red pepper and mushrooms.

Next I get the sauce together, combining all ingredients in a measuring cup and then whisking well before setting aside.

Then, I saute the cashews. You want to heat oil over medium high heat, then add the cashews to roast them. Stir them constantly and watch very carefully! They burn easily.

When they're golden and fragrant, remove them to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any oil. (In the interest of full disclosure, I normally skip this step. I just throw regular salted cashews over the dish at the end, and forego the roasting. The roasting does add a nice intensified flavor, and I would do it for company!)

Finally, I cut up the chicken. I cut it in small pieces. Today's tip: chicken is so much easier to cut when it's partially frozen. If you're taking it out of the freezer to use in this recipe, try to catch it before it's fully thawed. You can always cut it up and return it to the fridge if you're not using it right away.

Now that you've got all the "parts" ready, you can saute the chicken. First, heat a bit of oil in the skillet, then add the chicken. You want the skillet to be plenty hot. If it is, you'll only need to cook the chicken about 3 minutes, stirring often.

Remove the chicken to a bowl and add a bit more oil to the pan. When it's hot, add the veggies and stir fry for 3 minutes until they're crisp tender and brightly colored.

Give the sauce another whisking and then add to the vegetables. Because of the cornstarch, it will start to thicken right away. Stir constantly until it is nicely thickened and coating the vegetables. It will boil slightly and get darker in color.

Then add the chicken to the pan, and stir well to coat everything. Let it simmer for a minute or so to thoroughly warm the chicken.

Serve this over rice, and sprinkle the cashews over the top.

For more great recipes, visit Favorite Ingredient Friday , Family Recipe Friday and the Ultimate Recipe Swap.

Cashew Chicken

3/4 cup cashews
4 green onions, sliced
1 red or green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 T. peanut oil
3 chicken breasts, diced
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in skillet and roast cashews til golden brown, stirring constantly. Set aside. Combine chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar and cornstarch in measuring cup; whisk well to dissolve cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in skillet and stir fry chicken until opaque, about 3 minutes. Set chicken in a bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. oil to skillet and stir fry vegetables for 3-4 minutes til brightly colored and crisp tender. Whisk the sauce again and add to the pan, stirring frequently until sauce boils gently and thickens. Add the chicken and stir well to coat.

Serve over rice and sprinkle cashews over the top.


  1. This looks fantastic (great pictures, by the way)! I know my husband will love it!

    Thanks for participating in my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchange. I do appreciate it.

  2. I made this tonight and my husband and I love it! This is going to become one of my "old stand bys" also! Thanks for posting!


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