Adapted from Grace Young, Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge
Cashew chicken is a common dish in many Chinese restaurants. Most westernized versions, however, are heavy and unrefined. A true Cantonese cashew chicken is served in a very light sauce seasoned with ginger.
This recipe is easy to make and serves as a great introduction to the art and alchemy of a good stir fry. We’ve adapted this recipe from Grace Young’s superb book, Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, which we thoroughly recommend as a kitchen essential for the cook who is interested in starting to make great stir-fry dishes at home.
20 minutes total
Combine in a medium bowl an mix thoroughly.
Chicken thigh, skinless and boneless, cut into 0.5" / 1.3 cm cubes
Add to marinade A and stir to combine.
Combine in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat an empty wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 2 seconds of contact.
Ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Add to wok and stir fry for 10 seconds.
Push the ginger up the side of the wok.
Add chicken pieces B and spread evenly in a single layer. Leave undisturbed to let the chicken sear, 1 minute.
Stir-fry until the chicken has fully changed colour but not cooked through, another 1 minute
Add to wok and allow to heat for 10 seconds.
Sugar snap peas, strings removed
Carrots, thinly sliced to around 0.1" / 2 mm
Celery, thinly sliced to around 0.1" / 2 mm
Roasted cashews, unsalted
Add to wok and stir fry until the sugar snaps are bright green, 1 minute.
Re-stir the broth mixture C and swirl it into the wok.
Stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 minute more.
Original: 2010. Adapted: 2014.
Good quality cashews go a long way to enhancing the final quality of this dish.
If you can’t find roasted cashews, you can roast them yourself by rolling them around in a dry fry pan over medium heat until they are lightly golden, around 5 minutes.
You can make this in a skillet if you don’t have a wok. Follow the same instructions.
This will comfortably serve 2 to 3 people as a main meal, with rice; or 4 people as a smaller dish in a multi-course meal.
You can reduce the fat content by reducing the oil to 8 g in D and E as well as halving the amount of cashews to 35 g.
(Chef notes) Modernist version:
* Make infused oil of ginger instead of ginger pieces (won’t burn in oil)
* Pressure marinate chicken pieces in iSi (include baking soda?)
* Dry vegetable surface by leaving in fridge exposed after prepping
* Sous vide chicken pièces in marinade to 67°C / 153°F
* Thicken bag juices + sauce C with xanthan; lower amount of chicken stock to 20 g (chicked juices will substitute) and leave out the cornstarch
* Dry cooked meat thoroughly
* Brown chicken pieces in wok in ginger oil then remove from wok; heat wok to 230°C / 446°F, measure with infrared thermometer
* Stir fry the vegetables and nuts in wok (reheat to 230°C / 446°F); leave for 1 minute without disturbing and repeat 1 more time
* Add sauce to wok with vegetables and simmer 1 minute.
* Remove wok from heat then add meat and stir to combine and gently reheat. Serve immediately with a garnish of coriander?
Prep the vegetables and store in the fridge uncovered for up to 24 hours. If storing for longer, seal in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
Trim the chicken pieces of all unnecessary fat and store covered with a clean dish cloth for up to 24 hours. If storing for longer, cover with plastic wrap and store for up to 3 days.