stir-fry, chicken and cashew stir fry

chicken & cashew stir fry

Sydney, Australia has one of the largest and most vibrant Chinatowns in the world. As a child going out for Chinese food, especially in Chinatown, was a thrill that I still feel today when I go out to eat at a decent Chinese restaurant. My step dad and a Chinese waiter taught me to use chopsticks when I was eight years old and I’ve been using them ever since. To me there is something much more enjoyable picking up the bite-size pieces of glistening meats and veggies with chopsticks than poking at them with a fork. Maybe it’s a novelty that has never quite worn off.

chicken & cashew stir fry

chicken & cashew stir fry

Chinese food is so much more than the deep-fried, sugar-laden stuff served in Chinese buffets across a lot of North America. A Chinese friend of mine taught me this basic stir-fry recipe that I’ve been making for years. There are certain recipes I think every would-be cook needs in their repertoire, a stir-fry is one of them. Once you’ve mastered the basics behind a stir-fry you can switch out different meats and veggies, adding to your ever-expanding recipe box of tricks. Not only are stir-fries easy to throw together but they’re good for you too. And made so much more fun to eat when you add a couple of wooden sticks.

chicken and cashew stir-fry

  •  8 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 lb (500g) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce*
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon peanut (or canola) oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz (125g) sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup green onions, cut into 10inch (2cm) pieces
  • 1/3 cup toasted cashews
  • steamed jasmine rice to serve
  1. Firstly get all your ingredients ready, this is really important when making any stir-fry recipe. Soak mushrooms in very hot water in small heatproof bowl. Let stand 20 minutes; drain. Remove stems from mushrooms; cut caps in half.
  2.  Combine  salt, sherry and chicken in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the cornstarch, stock, oyster sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside.
  3.  Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add peanut oil, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add chicken mixture and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
  4.  Add sugar snap peas, broth mixture and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the peas are crisp and bright green.
  5.  Add green onions and cashews; stir-fry until combined.  Serves 4.

* I’ve tried many oyster sauces and I use this brand because I think it is better than any I’ve tried. Do not be put off by “oyster” sauce. This tastes nothing like oysters. The sauce is thick and slightly sweet and has a subtle flavor that is perfect for stir-frying. You can find the sauce is Asian grocery stores.

Here are a couple of pics from one of my trips to Asia. Hong Kong Island has these fantastic markets lining the hilly streets. Although it was unbearable hot when I was there in summer, the food was really fresh.

Hong Kong Island markets OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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