Monday, April 8, 2013

Cashew Chicken – Keeping it Not Real

Grilling season is rapidly approaching, and chances are good that at some point you’ll be faced with a few leftover grilled chicken breasts. Will you take the easy way out, and make chicken salad? Or, will you be brave and attempt something way more interesting, like this Cashew Chicken? Probably the chicken salad, but I decided to post this just in case.

Yes, I’m at it again, making food that’s not trying to be Asian, yet looks close enough to upset people anyway. I can’t do anything about that, and won't be dissuaded from using sweet, rich cashews, and a spicy, sweet and sour sauce to disappear some leftover, grilled chicken just because some people will get annoyed.

Sure, there are a hundred ways to make it “better” or more “authentic,” but on a weeknight after a long day at work, with your show coming on in 20 minutes, none of that matters. This isn't about what you think when you taste it; it’s about what you don’t think. And what you don’t think is, “this is leftover chicken.”

Having said all that, I would be shocked and amazed if you didn’t tweak this to your own personal tastes. It really is a versatile recipe, and one I hope you try soon. Now, get out there and grill too much chicken, and as always, enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 large portions:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6-8 thin slices of fresh ginger root
1 hot red chili pepper, sliced
1/2 cup dry roasted cashews
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 to 1 1/2 pound cooked chicken breast (about 2-3 breasts), cut into 1-inch cubes
For the sauce:
1/2 cup cold water or chicken broth, more as needed
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp ketchup
1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce, more as needed
2 tsp sambal (hot ground chili sauce)
1 packed tbsp brown sugar
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

View the complete recipe