Before Flo flew off to the land down under, and after the two thumbs up given to the ugly delicious sweet and sour chicken I made for him one evening, I decided to crack down and practice some more Asian cooking. This time, I zeroed in on Cashew Chicken.
I always thought of Cashew Chicken as more of a Thai dish since that’s where I had my first taste of it as far as I can remember. However, I realise that based on some research, the seasonings used can steered towards being more Chinese as well.
Use fish sauce, bird’s eye chilli and some lime juice and you step foot into Thailand. Stick to soy and hoisin and you’re in well, not exactly China but somewhere Chinese-ish.
My rendition is a mix of both Thai and Chinese, but skewed a little more to the latter. It’s extremely simple to make and while it doesn’t push my Sweet and Sour Chicken off top spot, Flo says this definitely makes his list of top 5 favourite dishes by me.
Cashew Chicken (Serves 1 as a main or 2-3 if you have other side dishes)
1 pc Chicken Breast, cut into 1.5″ pieces
1 tsp Fish Sauce
1/2 tsp Ground White Pepper
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 stalks Scallions, white and green parts separated. Cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 Red Pepper, diced
1 Red Chilli, sliced thinly and deseeded
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Tbs Rice Vinegar
1 Tbs Hoisin Sauce
1/4 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Water
1/4 cup Toasted Cashews
- Marinate chicken with fish sauce and ground white pepper for about 15min.
- In a small bowl, mix together rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and water. Set aside.
- Heat oil on high in a saucepan or wok. Once smoking hot, add chicken in just to brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Turn heat down and add in onions, white scallions, red pepper, chilli and garlic. Cook until fragrant and peppers have softened slightly.
- Add in rice vinegar mixture and mix through. Cook for about a minute for the sauce to thicken slightly before turning off the heat.
- Stir in a drizzle of sesame oil, toasted cashews and the scallion greens.
- Serve it brown basmati rice, or whatever rice you fancy.
The portion turned out to be quite generous so it totally filled Flo up nicely with some brown basmati rice. Of course, plain Jasmine white rice will be perfect as well and if you’re feeding more than two people, whip up a few more sides like a simple omelette or vegetable stir-fry. With the vegetables in there, it does make a balanced, healthful dish on its own especially since you can also control the amount of oil and salt that goes into it. Also, be sure the toast them nuts (I just baked mine in the oven for about 10-15min stirring the nuts halfway so they brown nicely) because they really level up the flavours!