I recently found an old cookbook I picked up at Borders (back when there was still a Borders) on sale – Wok & Stir Fry by Linda Doeser. The book immediately caught my eye when I originally picked it up, due to its large size and beautiful photographs. At the time I was totally intimidated by it, since I really hadn’t cooked much in the past, so it stayed shelved for quite a few years while I honed my skills in the kitchen.
When I found the cookbook a week or so ago, I was excited to try out some new recipes. With Valentine’s Day and the hustle and bustle of last week, I never actually had the opportunity to try one of them out until last night.
Chicken and cashew stir-fry was my first attempt from this cookbook, and overall, I was very impressed. The recipe didn’t take much time to prepare, and came out delicious. Although it is pretty similar to some other dishes we’ve perfected in the past, so I’m not sure how this will fit into our “repertoire”. Regardless, it was a nice change of flavor, and was pretty simply to whip up. In addition, it is (relatively) healthy, and contains plenty of healthy ingredients.
Chicken and Cashew Stir-Fry
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 pound boneless chicken breasts/tenders
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 4 garlic gloves (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 5-6 scallions, green part only, cut into 1″ lengths
- Heat a wok (or large skillet) until hot, add the cashews and dry-fry over low to medium heat for 1-2 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
- Cut the red bell pepper in half and remove the seeds. Slice into thin strips. Skin the chicken fillet and cut into thin finger-length strips.
- Heat the wok again until hot, add the peanut oil and swirl it around. Add the garlic and let it sizzle in the oil for a few seconds.
- Add the bell pepper and chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the rice wine or sherry and hoisin sauce. Continue to stir-fry until the chicken is tender and all the ingredients are evenly distributed/glazed.
- Stir in the sesame oil, toasted cashews and scallions. Serve immediately.
This was my first time cooking with hoisin sauce, so I really didn’t know what to expect from its flavor. It was very unique and strong, so my advice would be to try it in smaller quantities first and then increase as you go along and taste-test to see how strong you’d like the flavor to be. To give it less intensity, you could try diluting the hoisin paste slightly with water. Alternatively, you could try using light soy sauce in lieu of the hoisin if it is not to your liking. But don’t be afraid – I find it quite delicious!
Another alternative the book points out would be to use blanched almonds in place of cashews. I am personally a big cashew fan (even though they are not the healthiest of nuts), so I could see this swap for a more nutritious take on the same idea. I may try this in the future, as I am also a big lover of almonds.
We served this dish over rice. Please, let me if you try this recipe in the comments below – I’d love to hear how yours came out!