I wanted to eat one of my favorite Chinese dishes, cashew chicken. When I checked the fridge, I saw that I had a head of broccoli languishing in the crisper. It was going yellow at the edges and it had to be cooked and eaten. I decided to make cashew chicken, using broccoli instead of the usual bell peppers. Also, Becca likes eating broccoli and she turns her nose up at bell peppers, so that was also a plus.
I like making stir-fries for dinner. They are so quick to whip up and make a fantastic meal for little effort. Sometimes the prep time for chopping the meat and vegetables takes longer than the cooking time. That’s why this is a fantastic weeknight dinner.
Let’s make cashew chicken!
Get your ingredients. Try not to eat too much of the cashew nuts.
For the chicken, if you want silky chicken like the ones at the restaurant, try this trick. Place your chicken strips in a bowl and sprinkle over 1 tablespoon baking soda. Mix well and leave for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes rinse the chicken well and pat dry.
Then marinade in the cornstarch, salt, pepper, rice wine vinegar and garlic. Let that sit for a few minutes while you prep the broccoli.
I learned this trick from Rasa Malaysia. She calls this technique “velveting” the chicken, which results in very tender and silky smooth chicken pieces. If I have some time, I do this. If I am in a hurry, I marinate the chicken directly without the treatment. Try it and see if you like it.
In a medium bowl, mix all your sauce ingredients. Set that aside for now. You will need it at the end.
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a wok or large saucepan. Add in the cashew nuts and stir-fry for a few minutes until golden brown.
Remove from the pan and set aside. Add in the broccoli and stir-fry until desired tenderness. I usually add a bit of water to steam the broccoli as I prefer it quite cooked through. Remove and set aside.
Add in more oil to the wok and stir-fry the chicken pieces until cooked through. Add back the broccoli and cashews. Mix well.
Pour in the sauce, bring to a boil and stir until thickened. Serve immediately with rice.