Cashew Chicken

By Jennifer Segal

Metrocurean contributor,

You'll be amazed how much better it feels to eat fresh, homemade Chinese
food and, the thing is, it doesn’t take any longer to cook than it does
to call it in and wait for delivery.

In this case, you don't even need a
wok, just a large nonstick skillet. And aside from the chicken, the
only chopping involves some garlic and scallions. The rest, I kid you
not, comes out of bottles and jars. The only way to mess it up is to
overcook the chicken, so be sure not to cut the chicken pieces too small
(they’ll cook too fast), and have all your ingredients prepped before
you start cooking. Also, be sure to use a good quality hoisin sauce such
as Kikkoman or Lee Kum Kee — it makes all the difference. Serve with
white rice and steamed broccoli. Enjoy!

Cashew Chicken

Inspired by Everyday Food: Great Food Fast by Martha Stewart Living

serves 4

¾ cup roasted, unsalted cashews

1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into 1-1 ½ inch pieces*

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 medium garlic cloves, minced

8 scallions (1 bunch), white and green parts separated, each cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

4 tablespoons hoisin sauce (best brands are Kikkoman or Lee Kum Kee)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

¼ cup water

¼ teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Start cooking rice, if you plan to serve it.)

Place cashews on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool.

Place chicken pieces in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over high heat until very hot. Add half the chicken to the skillet and stir-fry (stir as you cook) until lightly browned but not cooked
through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining tablespoon vegetable oil to the skillet, then add remaining chicken, garlic and white parts of the scallions. Stir-fry until the chicken is lightly browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes. Return the first batch of chicken to the pan. Turn heat down to medium and add the
rice vinegar; cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds.

Add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and water; cook, tossing, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the scallion greens, cashews and sesame oil. Serve immediately.

*Chicken pieces should all be roughly the same size so they cook evenly. Since chicken breasts are not uniform thickness, compensate by making the thinner pieces a bit bigger.

Jennifer Segal is the founder and publisher of Once Upon a Chef, a cooking blog featuring easy and elegant recipes. Before launching her blog, Jennifer earned her culinary stripes working front and back of the house at some of DC's top fine dining restaurants, including L'Auberge Chez Francois, Sam & Harry's and The Caucus Room.

She has also done private catering and restaurant public relations. Jennifer is a graduate of the professional Culinary Arts Program at L'Academie de Cuisine.