Jeff is still making remarks on the different aspects he enjoyed from this Chicken and Cashews dish we made for dinner tonight. He always gives feedback, but this time he went out of his way to make sure I knew he liked it - I guess he was just trying to subtly recommend we have this again, and soon! Although, he wasn't too happy to find out about the "special" ingredient... more on that in a bit.
The chunky cubes of lean chicken breast called for in the recipe were coated in soy sauce and dry sherry before being tossed into a well-heated skillet to start cooking through. However, to give those two ingredients some sticking power so it clings to the chicken, they were whisked together with a spoonful of cornstarch. Since the chicken was sliced into bite-sized pieces, this really doesn't take but a few minutes - as you will be working in succession, be sure you have all of your prep work done and ingredients measured out so you are good to go.
To keep the chicken from drying out, it's removed from the skillet, while a bit of sesame oil is drizzled in to heat up. Chopped onion, celery and colorful bell peppers are then stirred in and left just long enough to take their raw edge off. Fresh ginger and garlic, a staple around here, were the next team to join the party, followed by the almost-cooked chicken mixture, as soon as their pungent aromas were released. And don't forget, be sure to pour any and all juices that were left on the plate the chicken was stored on!
It's not very saucy as of yet, but we fixed that by stirring in a combination of chicken broth spiked with soy sauce, oyster sauce, sticky honey and a touch more cornstarch. Brought to a boil to activate the cornstarch, the dish was now bubbly, ready and waiting to be served. Topped with scallions for a fresh note and roasted cashews for crunch, we scooped this over a bed of nutty brown basmati rice to serve. I did make sure to wait until Jeff was almost done to inform him of that "special" ingredient I mentioned earlier - oyster sauce! See, if he would have seen it or known about it before hand, this probably wouldn't have made it on the table tonight. He just assumes it's going to permeate the dish with an off "fishy" taste and ruin his dinner. Instead, all this syrupy sauce does is add a rich, savory essence that rounds out the flavor. So, while I got an eye roll and an "ugh", he did take it back with a sigh and a clean plate!
Chicken and Cashews