Friday, May 2, 2008

I just love Chinese food. My favourite dish is number 27. ~ Clement Atlee

When we first moved out to the country to our 10-acre farm, there was very little there. We'd either have to drive to Little Rock or Conway to eat.

After several years, people starting spreading out from the cities and into the countryside to live. What followed was an influx of different places to shop and eat.

When we lived in California, we ate Chinese food often. It is one of our favorite types of food, but really good Chinese food is hard to get here. So, when a small Chinese drive-thru/eat in diner opened about 10 miles from our house we thought we'd at least give it a try. It was amazing! Everything was fresh and made on the premises. Nothing was overly sauced. We enjoyed meals from Dragon Express at least once a month.

Then we moved into Conway a year and a half ago. Jade China, a small restaurant in Conway which used to have pretty good food, was extremely disappointing the last two times we ate their food. The sauces were very heavy and the vegetables and meat were drowning. We tried another place. Same thing.

So I have been craving Chinese food, but the 45 minute drive back to Dragon Express seems a little far for Vegetable Egg Foo Yung. So when I came across Nic's posting for Cashew Chicken, I decided to try it, with some little changes of my own.

It was delicious. Light, just the right amount of sauce and very flavorful.

What follows is the recipe which includes the changes I made. You can see Nic's original recipe at the link above. I deleted the salt in her recipe because I used some oyster sauce, which is pretty salty. I also added mushrooms and onions instead of her bean sprouts. I wanted fresh bean sprouts, but they looked gross so I left them on the shelf and opted for mushrooms instead. Finally, rather than plain brown rice, I served it with Chinese Fried Rice made with cooked brown rice.

Cashew Chicken
adapted from "Nic in the Kitchen" by Terri Powers for Terri's Table

1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch slices
3 medium stalks celery, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1/2 of medium onion, cut into quarters, the layers separated and the layers cut into 1-inch slices
6 medium mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of dry-roasted cashews
2 cloves of garlic, minced fine
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1-1/2 cups chicken broth, divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup portions
4 tablespoons peanut oil

Put the cornstarch into the 1/2 cup portion of the chicken broth, mix well to dissolve any lumps and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Do not allow to brown. Add the chicken and stir-fry until cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate.

Add the last 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and heat. Add the celery and cook for about 1 minute. Add the onions to the celery and cook for about another 1 minute. Add the mushrooms to the celery and onions and cook for about 2 to 3 more minutes. The celery should still be just a little crunchy.

Add one cup of the chicken broth, then the soy sauce and oyster sauce to the pan. Stir the cornstarch/chicken broth mixture well, then add to the pan and stir quickly. Bring it all to a boil. When the sauce starts to thicken, add the chicken back into the pan. Then add the cashews. Mix well.

Serve over plain or Chinese Fried Rice.


jj said...

Sounds wonderful, thanks for a great share!

Sharona May said...

Nice dish! I just made peanut chicken the other night.

Nicole said...

Oh your version looks so much better! I love fried rice, but we're trying to "watch what we eat" yeah right! lol

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