Friday, November 11

Chicken & Cashewnuts

A Chinese takeaway classic it maybe, but my version if far superior and takes literally minutes to prepare and cook. Serve with some egg fried rice and you have an economical healthy midweek supper. You must buy the raw unsalted cashews and cook them yourself. When I was in Thailand you could order freshly fried cashew with chilli to go with your ice-cold Singha beer. If you have not roasted your own nuts before, try frying cashews slowly in a pan with a little butter and salt until golden. Allow to cool before eating so they have a chance to crisp up - I promise it will be a revelation. For two:

Free range skinless chicken breast - 200g, sliced
A small onion - finely sliced
Garlic - 3 cloves, peeled and finely sliced
Spring onion - 1/2 bunch, finely shredded
Oyster mushrooms - 100g, cleaned and torn
Quality oyster sauce - 4 tbsp
Light soy sauce - to taste
Cashews - 100g
Fresh coriander - 1 small pack, roughly chopped
Sugar - to taste
Sesame oil - 1tsp
Veg Oil - 2 tbsp

First gently fry your cashews in a little oil over a medium heat until they start to go golden brown in places. Stir and shake about until they are nicely toasted then drain and set aside. Crank up the heat to high and in the same pan add the rest of the oil and fry the onion, garlic, mushrooms and spring onion until they start to soften. Toss in the chicken and fry until cooked. Add the oyster sauce and sesame oil plus a little water - enough to moisten the dish and make a thick sauce. Now add the sugar and soy sauce to taste. You need to balance the saltiness and sweetness to get that authentic Chinese taste. Add a little at a time until you are happy with the flavour - this is a deeply personal thing so there are no measurements here. Add a little more water if your sauce is too thick, otherwise transfer to a warmed bowl, top with coriander and your cashew nuts. Serve with fried rice. 

If you have not made fried rice before: beat two eggs and fry in a little oil as if you  were going to scramble them. Really cook the eggs until really dry and rubbery, breaking them up as you go. Toss in some blanched frozen peas and a generous bowl full of day old, cold rice. Heat through on a fierce heat adding a little more oil if needed. Finish with a good shake of light soy or Thai fish sauce to season. I cook this all the time, its good...give it a go.

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