Cashew Chicken

One of the Chinese restaurants that we loved to frequent in Houston ten years ago was Fu’s Garden.  I said ten years ago because at the time, we lived a few blocks from the restaurant and we usually had their food once a week.  Now, we still live close to it, maybe about 10-15 minutes drive, but it is just not too convenient.  You have to hop on the freeway, and then you have to drive locally – by the time you have your food and drive home, the food would have been cold already.

Now, you would think that Houston would have an abundance of Chinese restaurants.  Yes, Houston has lots of Chinese restaurants, but sadly, we live in an older neighborhood that doesn’t have good Chinese food available in the immediate vicinity.  We’re not that far from Chinatown either, maybe 20 – 30 minutes drive, but… we prefer to stay home if we don’t have to go out of the house.  Are we weird?

Back to Fu’s Garden.  The most favorite food from Fu’s that we like the most was their Cashew Chicken.  Every time we try out a new Chinese restaurant, we always try the Cashew Chicken.  Unfortunately, no-one had Cashew Chicken as good as Fu’s.  So, I had attempted to make it a few times myself, but the results were not even close.  Then, a few weeks ago, I saw this Cashew Chicken recipe from Tasty Kitchen.  I just had to try it.  The end result?  It was pretty good actually, except, it still wasn’t Fu’s Cashew Chicken.  To top that, I forgot to turn on the vent hood on top of the stove.  So the whole house smelled like a Chinese Restaurant after dinner.  Thank goodness I had Glade oil scented candles that work at getting rid of smells!

Okay, the ingredients were very simple.  Chicken breast, cashews, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, onion and red pepper flakes.



First I made the sauce ready… I measured out one tablespoon of rice vinegar…



Then I added the brown sugar…



Red pepper flakes…



Ground ginger….



Sesame oil…



Soy sauce… And I got the sauce ready.  At the end, I made double batch of the sauce, since I like a lot of sauce.  Next time, I might make it a triple batch, since I like to soak my rice with the sauce… 🙂  Yes, the recipe calls for lettuce leaf, but I ate my Chicken Cashew with steamed rice.  It is more Chinese that way… ha ha…



Then I chopped the onion and minced the garlic.



Sliced the chicken breast into bite size pieces…



Then I was ready to cook the Chicken Cashew.  I poured olive oil into the cast iron skillet – I need to get a wok!!!  A real wok, where only a small space would get the direct heat… sounds like I need to have a Chinatown trip!



Then, I was thinking, how about if I toasted the cashews before I cooked them?  So I pulled out a smaller skillet – since I really didn’t want to turn on the oven for about half a cup of cashews.  I toasted them at a medium heat and tossed them often.  I toasted them until the cashews turned darker just a bit in color and smelled fragrant.



Then I was ready to drop the chicken in….  Note to myself – next time I really need to pat the pieces dry to help them speed up the browning process.



Thank goodness there wasn’t much splatter….



I let the chicken sit there until it started to cook halfway…



After about 5 minutes, then the cashews were ready.  So I put them aside and removed them from the heat.



Then I stirred the chicken and cooked it some more…



Until they were browned and cooked through.  I scooped them out of the skillet and set them aside.



Then I dropped the onion and garlic into the skillet.



Poured in some soy sauce…



Cooked the onion until they caramelized..




Then I dumped in the cooked chicken…






Sauce, mixed it all around – turned down the heat since high heat would have reduced the sauce tremendously.



And…  Served into a big serving bowl.  For this food, I picked the Chinese porcelain bowl I got from the Chinese grocery store when I was in college…  Yes, that bowl is older than all of my nieces and nephews. 🙂




Then I served the Cashew Chicken on top of white rice, and sprinkled it with chopped green onion.  I would have used the smaller bowl for the rice – but those bowls were dedicated as the cat’s food bowls.  So I just served it on a plate, along with a spoon and fork, Indonesian style. 🙂  It was yummy, although it was still not Fu’s Cashew Chicken.   The chicken was tender, the cashews were crunchy, and the sauce, sweet, and a hint of tanginess… it was just a good ol’ Chinese food.  This recipe is definitely a keeper, and it was great as leftovers too!  Just… remember to turn on your vent hood when you brown the chicken.  Zai jian!



Print recipe here.

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Recipe courtesy: missamy

1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
¼ teaspoons Ground Red Pepper
¼ teaspoons Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
2-1/3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce, Divided
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil (or Oil Of Choice)
2 pieces Chicken Breast (approx. 3/4 Lb. Total), Diced
1 cup Diced Onion
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
¼ cups Cashews, chopped
8 leaves Of Greenleaf Or Iceburg Lettuce, Washed And Dried

Preparation Instructions
For stir fry sauce, mix together rice vinegar, brown sugar, ground red pepper, ground ginger, sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, making sure to dissolve brown sugar. Set aside.

Heat canola oil in pan over medium to medium-high heat.  Add diced chicken and brown (about 4 to 5 minutes). Remove chicken from oil. Add onions and garlic to pan and remaining soy sauce (1/3 tbsp. or 1 tsp.) to pan; brown.  When onions and garlic are brown and tender, add stir fry sauce, browned chicken and cashews.  Saute mixture for a few minutes and remove from heat.

Spoon chicken mixture into individual lettuce leaves.  Add your favorite hot sauce, more cashews or basil.

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