Chinese food has a special place in my heart, well let me rephrase that. American-Chinese food has a special place in my heart (more specifically my arteries! hay-0000000!! that’s a clogged artery joke). There’s nothing I really love more than ordering a bunch of Chinese food and then stretching said Chinese food out over a couple of days while I feast on all the delicious leftovers. Chinese food is one of the few foods that I love even more cold (and for breakfast).
I say American-Chinese food because let’s face it, most of us have never had “real” Chinese food. From what I’ve read and heard, real Chinese food is far less sweet, saucy, and fried. Probably for the better. In order to suit our simple taste buds over here, Chinese immigrants to America had to find a way to appeal to their American customer’s taste buds in order to stay afloat in this strange new world.
Examples of this situation can be found across America on a Chinese food menu near you, i.e. General Tso’s, Orange Chicken, and the subject of this article, Cashew chicken.
The inspiration of Cashew chicken comes from the concept of a “ding” dish. What is a “ding” dish? It’s basically a stir-fry with the chicken (or protein) cubed and then a variety of vegetables. The idea is to create a mixture of textures and flavors for the eater, the most popular “ding” dish you probably know if is Kung Pao chicken.
Cashew chicken is an American Chinese dish that was popularized by Chef David Leong, who invented the dish in Springfield, Missouri. Leong’s version of the dish fries the chicken and then it’s covered with a mixture of hoisin, oyster, and soy sauce. The dish, which was created in the early 1960’s, has evolved since then. Some menus feature the dish with a medley of vegetables and a mild oyster sauce that’s more bland than anything else. Meanwhile, other places feature a dish that is primarily just chicken, cashews, and a rich blend of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and plum sauce. The latter is my favorite. My favorite American Chinese haunt serves it this way and there’s nothing I love more than eating this dish.
This dish is supremely easy to make and so satisfying. This will quickly become one of your favorites.
Recipe – Cashew Chicken
1 Pound of Boneless Chicken Thighs cut into cubes
1 Tsp. Corn Starch
1/2 Cup Mirin Sweet Rice Wine
1/2 Cup Hoisin Sauce
2 Tbsp. Plum Sauce
2 Tsp. Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp. Peanut Oil
1 Cup of Cashews Roasted and Unsalted
Step 1- Mix the Mirin, with the plum sauce, fish sauce, corn starch, and Hoisin Sauce.
Step 2- Heat peanut oil in a wok, once it’s almost smoking, add your chicken thighs.
Step 3- Once the chicken thighs are browned on all sides and cooked through, add your sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 4- Right before you serve, add in your cashews, stir quickly, and serve immediately. Be careful not to cook your cashews too long they will lose their crunch.
Step 5- Enjoy! (with some rice or noodles!)
- 1 Pound of Boneless Chicken Thighs cut into cubes
- 1 Tsp. Corn Starch
- ½ Cup Mirin Sweet Rice Wine
- ½ Cup Hoisin Sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Plum Sauce
- 2 Tsp. Fish Sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Peanut Oil
- 1 Cup of Cashews Roasted and Unsalted
- Step 1- Mix the Mirin, with the plum sauce, fish sauce, corn starch, and Hoisin Sauce.
- Step 2- Heat peanut oil in a wok, once it's almost smoking, add your chicken thighs.
- Step 3- Once the chicken thighs are browned on all sides and cooked through, add your sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Step 4- Right before you serve, add in your cashews, stir quickly, and serve immediately. Be careful not to cook your cashews too long they will lose their crunch.
- Step 5- Enjoy! (with some rice or noodles!)