The first time I made cashew chicken was for my husband when we were first married. It quickly became a favorite, and I actually prefer it to our favorite Chinese take out place because it has a cleaner, lighter taste and I can control the saltiness overall.
Looking back, so much has changed since we were in that honeymoon phase!
Like how we used to think waking up at 10am on a Saturday morning was no big deal…
And we thought our Palm Pilots were the coolest gagets ever…
And we wondered why our friends had such naughty kids and let their houses and cars get so messy…
Back before we knew how messy (but fun) our own house would someday be, and the tremendous amount of joy our three boys would bring to us. We wouldn’t trade anything we have now for those lazy days we used to share, though we do look forward to sleeping in past 6:30am someday without a certain little munchkin proclaiming it morning time.
When I make cashew chicken, I always try to have all the ingredients chopped, measured out and ready to go before I start cooking. Pretend you are on a cooking show with tiny bowls all over your countertop with each ingredient lined up as you need them. When the recipe goes quickly at the end, you will be glad you were so organized and well-prepared. And don’t be scared of ingredients that sound strange and smell even stranger (like oyster sauce). These blend so well with everything else, and are very familiar to so many of your favorite Chinese dishes.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken tenderloins chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves pressed through a garlic press
- 6 green onions, sliced thinly- separate green from white part
- 2 tablepsoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup raw cashews, toasted and roughly chopped
- In a medium bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil on medium high heat and add half of the chicken. Stir occasionally, and cook until browned on all sides and cooked through the center, 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer cooked chicken to a plate, and repeat with the remaining chicken. Add more oil if pan is dry. Transfer second batch of cooked chicken to the plate.
- Add a small amount of oil into the pan again, and sauté green pepper until it begins to soften, about 4 minutes.
- Add white part the green onions, sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Pour in rice vinegar and cook for 30 seconds.
- Mix together hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and water in a small bowl and pour over peppers, onions and garlic.
- Add cooked chicken back into the pan and stir to coat.
- Stir in cashews and remaining green onions and simmer on medium heat for a few more minutes.
- Serve over white or brown rice.