Spicy Cashew Chicken is fresh veggies stir fried with juicy chicken and salty cashews then swirled in a mouthwatering spicy, garlicky sauce.
One thing Ben and I really appreciated about the food we ate in Jamaica was that it was unbelievably fresh, flavorful, and prepared without a lot of extra fat. Shortly after Omar picked us up for our all-day tour, he stopped by a little road-side restaurant to pick up some carryout. After telling him we weren’t hungry, he went in solo and came back with a container of food that made our jaws drop.
Forget the cheeseburger and fries, Jamaican fast food is an entire fish, caught that morning, grilled and served with greens, fresh conch, and sweet potato. Ben and I wanted to simultaneously smack each other across the face for declining.
I made up for our bad with a fresh Cashew Chicken Stir Fry for dinner last night, which was packed with good for you ingredients, laced with a super flavorful sauce, and made with just a wee touch of oil. I think Omar would approve!
Start the stir fry by preparing the spicy, garlicky sauce. In the mix:
- Soy sauce
- Chicken broth
- Thai Chili Garlic Sauce (available in the Asian foods aisle in the grocery store)
- Brown sugar
Combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl, microwave for about 20 seconds, then stir and set aside.
Next, season 2 chicken breasts with a dash of soy sauce and a couple grinds of black pepper. No need to go too crazy with the pepper here since we have the chili garlic sauce in the stir fry sauce. It’s not that hot – I’d say a 5 out of 10 on the spicy scale – but still. Yeah.
Start the cooking by heating 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil in a wok or the biggest skillet you own over high heat, then stir fry the chicken until it’s no longer pink color on the outside. It doesn’t need to be fully cooked at this point.
Now add in, pardon my French, an ass load of chopped veggies, including 2 cups broccoli florets, 1 big carrot and 1 celery stalk sliced on the bias, 1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas, and 1/2 sliced onion.
Stir fry the veggies for 5 minutes or so, or until they’re crisp tender, then add in 1/2 cup each canned sliced water chestnuts, and baby corn that’s been chopped. Raise your hand if you love baby corn! WHEE!
Finally, pour the pre-made sauce into the wok…
then add in buttery, creamy cashews. 3/4 cup, to be exact! That might sound like a lot, but trust me, you’ll want them all in there. They lend richness and great texture to the dish.
Let the sauce bubble and reduce for a couple minutes.
Finally, pile the glorious, garden-fresh concoction on top of a scoop of cooked, long-grain white rice. FYI I’ve been adding a pinch of salt to my rice as it cooks, which makes ALL the flavor difference in the world. YUMMY!
Spicy Cashew Chicken
From Hy-Vee Seasonal Magazine
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 Tablespoons soy sauce, divided
2/3 cup fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Thai chili garlic sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 stalk celery, sliced thinly on the bias
1 large carrot, sliced thinly on the bias
2 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups snap peas (or snow peas)
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
1/2 cup chopped canned baby corn
3/4 cup cashews
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice, cooked according to package directions
- Toss together chicken, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, plus a couple grinds of black pepper in a bowl then set aside. In a separate bowl, combine remaining soy sauce, broth, brown sugar, Thai chili garlic sauce, and garlic. Microwave for 20 seconds in the microwave, then stir and set aside.
- Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a lark wok or skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink on the outside, about 2-3 minutes. Add celery, carrot, broccoli, snow peas, onion, and remaining oil if needed, then stir fry for 5-6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add water chestnuts and baby corn, then stir to combine.
- Add the sauce and cashews to the the wok, then let sauce bubble for 2 minutes. Serve over cooked white rice.
Awww, yeah. That’s the stuff. ;)
Savory, a touch spicy, and super duper fresh. That’s a technical term. ;)
Plus, really quick and easy to make, too. After 15 minutes of chopping the chicken and veggies, I was able to cook the entire stir fry in about 10 minutes. Totally better than take-out!
It’s funny because usually when I come back from vacation, I enter into detox mode with tons of fresh stir fries, salads, and hundreds of Green Monster Spinach Smoothies, but we actually ate really well in Jamaica because of all the fresh options available. More than anything I need a detox from the stupid bag of leftover Easter candy in our kitchen that doesn’t seem to want to empty.
How many handfuls does it seriously take to get to the bottom of a Starburst jelly bean bag?
Happy almost Friday!