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Authentic Recipes: Cashew Chicken
I really love eating this dish, because it was won of the first I discovered when I was introduced to Chinese food after I graduated from high school. I had never heard of Chinese food before! The first time i entered a Chinese restaurant I was fairly well lost, but really enjoyed the atmosphere and the music.
Cashew chicken is a simple and enjoyable dish, a Chinese-American fusion of deep fried or stir fried chicken and a tasty oyster sauce. According to the Visit Missouri Newsletter, this delicious dish was first served back in the early 1960s by Leong's Tea House of Springfield, Missouri. Unfortunately, the restaurant closed in 1997, but the dish and its variations live on.
The owner of Leong's, Mr. David Leong, had immigrated to the USA from China in 1940 and started his restaurant. However, the Chinese foods he served had difficulty catching on with the American public and did not become popular. His remedy was Chinese-American fusion style cooking that was tastier to Americans. This simplified version of his invention includes only fried chicken strips, Chinese oyster sauce, cashews and chopped green onions or scallions. There are many variations, and one even included coconut!
EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS
- Clean and Sanitized Counter Top
- Clean and Sanitized Cutting Board.
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Small Mixing Bowl.
- Chef's Knife
- Mixing Spoon
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cup
- Kitchen/BBQ Tongs or large Chop Sticks for cooking
- Wok or Skillet
Stir-Fried Chicken and Cashews - 4 servings.
Makes 4 Servings
- 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes or strips
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon dry sherry and ½ teaspoon sugar if desired [use both, either or neither]
- 2 Tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 cup raw cashews [use salted nuts if you really crave the saltiness]
- 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce or oyster sauce
- ½ cup sliced green onions or scallions - use some of the green tails, too.
- Mix your chicken chunks/strips, soy sauce, and sherry/sugar in a large mixing box and set aside for the flavors to mix.
- Pour peanut oil into a wok or skillet.
- Preheat the skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
- Add the cashews and lightly toss for a minute or longer until lightly browned.
- Remove the nuts and set them aside in a small bowl.
- Add chicken mix to the skillet or wok and stir and toss in hot peanut oil for about 3 minutes or until chicken loses all traces of pink.
- Stir in the oyster or Hoisin sauce and the cashews.
- Sprinkle with green onions and a few more cashews.
- Remove from heat and serve over hot fried or white rice. White rice is how it was first served.
For one of my own variations, you can be sure to add the sherry and sugar and ¼ - ½ cup of flaked coconut to the chicken mix. Or, you can brown it with the cashews, either way, depending on our mood. When served, sprinkle a little coconut over the top as well.
Besides rice, serve a compote of fresh fruits drizzled with honey and a little coconut sprinkled on top.
As stated in the first section of this article, the original recipe from the 1940s included a simple combination of deep fried chicken rather than stir fried, with oyster sauce and chopped green onions and that is still an option today: Springfield News-Leader, 2006.