Saturday, 15 February 2014

Thai Cashew Chicken

So, I have been neglecting my blog. Sad, poor, lonely blog...

For no good reason other then I moved, twice (into my parents and then into my new house). Then Christmas came.... and I had to FILL my new house, so I was busy shopping and stalking Kijiji in my spare time. Then my kids have birthdays 3 days apart (turning 2 and 13), so I have been busy with planning, cooking and baking for their parties. Between moving, working, Christmas, birthdays, karate 2 nights a week with my 13 year old and gymnastics with my 2 year old.... all I wanted to do was veg in front of the TV with my man at the end of the day.

So that is what I did. And I did it well. 

Meanwhile my blog has been calling my name...

"foo! Do you still love food?!?"

I replied, "I do. A lot." (I really didn't talk to my computer...this is just how I envisioned the conversation going if I did talk to my computer)

So, I have decided to start putting time aside again for my small food blog. 

While I ignored my blog, I got out of the habit of meal planning and it was a disaster. I hated it. I stopped the meatless Mondays that I enjoyed and I was not making the healthiest choices. I was scrambling at the end of the day to decide on supper and then getting groceries every day to make those meals. I was dreading the end of my work day because I knew I had to make a decision and follow though in a timely manner. I missed the planning and the organization my blog brought me.

I made my first meal plan last week, got the groceries for the week and I stuck to my plan. I have to say that it was soooo less stressful!

I made a meal plan again this week and I will share that in the next few posts. I am going to be posting my new favourite recipes since I have been on hiatus. I am going to start with my favourite one, Thai Cashew Chicken.

I have made it twice, my mom stole the recipe and my man asks for it every week. I would say it is a keeper :)

Also, did I mention how quick and easy it is to make? Once the food prep is done, it comes together in minutes.

Some adjustments I made: 

1. The first time I made this, we ate it ALL. I wanted left overs the next time, so I cut up 3 small chicken breasts, added peppers, used a whole cup of cashews and a whole onion. I also doubled the sauce ingredients.

2. I didn't have the dried red chilies, so I added some hot chili pepper flakes (probably half a tsp).

3. I couldn't find sweet soy sauce so I substituted the 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce for 1 tbsp of soy sauce + 1 tsp brown sugar.

4. I used a wok, but if you don't have one, use the biggest pan you have.

5. This isn't an adjustment, but some good advice that I learned from the original recipe:

“Stir-Fry” means “stir, THEN fry.” The purpose of stir-frying is to let the ingredients fry and get a lovely brown color before you stir it to keep it from burning. Let the food fry for about 30 seconds at a time before stirring it, and make sure you are using medium-high heat. If you stir it too much, or fry it over too low of a heat, the dish won’t turn out right. The chicken will poach from the steam and be white rather than brown."

THAI CASHEW CHICKEN (click for original recipe)

For the Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
For the Stir-Fry
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ½ small yellow onion, quartered
  • 4 finger-length dried red chilies (such as chile de arbol), seeded and cut into halves
  • ½ cup roasted cashew nuts
  • 8 oz chicken, cut into thin pieces (about one large chicken breast – hold your knife at an angle and slice against the grain to get the thinnest pieces possible)
  • 1 green onion, cut into 1” lengths
  1. Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough to produce a sizzle when a drop of water hits it, add in all of the cashew nuts. Fry the cashews until they turn light brown, just a few minutes. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and set them on a paper towel to rest.
  3. Add the garlic, onion, peppers and dried red chilies (pepper flakes) to the oil. Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until you can start to smell the spicy aroma of the chilies. Add in the chicken and continue to stir-fry until the chicken turns opaque and is cooked through (about 4-5 minutes). Return the cashews to the pan and toss to distribute around the pan.
  4. Add the sauce to the wok and toss all of the ingredients to coat them well. Turn off the heat and add in the chopped scallions. Serve immediately with a side of jasmine rice.