It was back to Ken Hom’s Complete Chinese Cookbook for last night’s dinner and specifically it was his Cashew Chicken (p.142). I served this up with some of the really simple egg fried rice I posted a couple of weeks back.
- 450g (1lb) boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 egg white
- 2 tsps cornflour
- 300ml (10 fl oz) groundnut or vegetable oil, or water, plus 2 tsps oil
- 50g (2oz) roasted cashew nuts
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp finely chopped spring onions for garnish
Method of Preparation:
- Cut the chicken breasts into 1cm (1/2in) cubes. Combine them with the egg white, cornflour and 1 tsp of salt in a small bowl, and put into the fridge for about 20 minutes
- There are two options here dependant on whether you want to cook the chicken in oil or water:
- (Oil Method) Heat a wok or a large frying pan until it is very hot and then add 300ml (10fl oz) of oil (if using water, see below). When it is very hot, remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking. After about 2 minutes, when the chicken has turned white, quickly drain it in a stainless steel colander set over a bowl. Discard the oil.
- (Water Method) If you choose to use water instead of oil, bring it to a boil in a pan. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking. After about 2 minutes, when the chicken has turned white, quickly drain it in a stainless steel colander set over a bowl, discard the water.
- If you have used a wok or a frying pan to cook the chicken, wipe it clean with kitchen paper. Heat it until it is very hot, then add the remaining 2 tsps of oil.
- Add the cashew nuts and stir-fry them for 1 minute, then add the rice wince and soy sauce.
- Return the chicken to the pan and stir-fry the mixture for another 2 minutes.
- Garnish with the spring onions and serve at once.
How easy is this?
I’ll tell you, very!
I used the water method as I really don’t enjoy disposing of cooking oil and it worked an absolute treat. The very quickly poached, small chicken pieces were so juicy and tender. Wife thought the whole dish was a bit salty which I could understand (it was fine for me) but that could be to do with the salted cashews that I used. That said though we both thought it was a brilliant mid-week meal; fresh, tasty and quick!
I have found one small issue with this recipe and it comes in at step 6. If you get your oil very hot and then add your cashews they will burn immediately so don’t do it. Just heat the oil to a medium temperature and go from there.
As I said at the top of this post I served it up with the egg fried rice recipe that I posted some weeks back and it was delicious. Should you choose to do this I’d recommend finishing off the rice while the chicken is out of the pan as it only takes a couple of minutes to finish off the chicken.
If you’ve any serving tips I’d love to hear them.