Chinese-inspired cashew chicken, served with jasmine rice, which not only tastes absolutely ‘wunderschön’ but is actually pretty good for you too!
Raise your hands if you’ve ever trawled the ‘interwebs’, looking for a simplified weeknight dinner recipe? Of course you have! We all have. Much as I like to make a nice and elaborate meal, and follow recipes that often begin with ‘ browning the onions’ and approximately 20 steps later, end with ‘layering the rice, meat and browned onions’, I like keeping my weeknights simple. As do many of us.
If your pantry supplies include soy-sauce, oyster sauce and rice vinegar, I’d say you don’t have to stress a bit. Whip up a Chinese-inspired cashew chicken in under 30 minutes, without breaking a sweat. Serve it with jasmine rice (aaah the aroma!) and sit back and enjoy.
I have a weakness for Chinese food, which, having grown up in India, is quite normal. In my mind, I associate Chinese food with celebrating the simple joys of life. In engineering college, my friends and I would indulge in spicy Indo-Chinese sold by a cart vendor to celebrate the end of a semester, and much later, Chinese takeout used to be the ultimate Friday night meal, at the end of a hectic work-week.
In the town we live in, Baden, there are a handful of Chinese takeaway places, none of which come anywhere close to the Chinese restaurants we were so happy ordering from, back in Bangalore. And Chinese food at Swiss prices – that’s a story for another day. So, to summarize, Chinese take-out isn’t really a viable option here. But the cravings need to be satisfied, and with a few pantry supplies, on a rainy day this week, this meal came together to satisfy all those longings for a nice little Chinese-inspired meal.
This easy cashew chicken is also pretty good for you. Now I’m no nutrition expert, but it has chicken, veggies and nuts. And rice. And its made with low-sodium soy sauce. What more does a woman (or man or child) want?
If you’d like more weeknight recipes with chicken, here are a few you could try. I guarantee they are delicious!
- 400 grams of skinless chicken breasts (cut into small cubes)
- 2 large bell peppers, chopped into cubes
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¾ cup cashews
- For the sauce:
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 teaspoons oyster sauce
- 3 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- To serve:
- Jasmine rice (cook as per instructions on the pack)
- 2 scallions or spring onions
- Start by pre-heating the oven to 200C.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the chicken cubes, chopped bell peppers, peanut butter, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Give it a good mix, so that the chicken and the veggies are well coated with the condiments.
- In a large baking sheet lined with foil, turn out the well-coated chicken and veggies, and bake for 5 minutes at 200 C.
- After 5 minutes, take out the sheet. The juices from the chicken will be running in the pan. Give the chicken and veggies a good mix with a spatula, add the cashews and return to the oven. Bake for a further 5 minutes.
- While the chicken, veggies and cashews bake, make the sauce.
- Turn up the stove to medium heat and in a sauce pan, and all the ingredients listed under 'sauce'.
- Give it a good stir and let it come to a simmer. Turn off the heat once it starts to simmer. The sauce would have thickened.
- Once the chicken-veggies and cashes are done, take out the baking sheet and place on the counter top to let the chicken rest.
- When you are ready to serve, combine the baked chicken, veggies and cashew nuts with the prepared sauce and serve with jasmine rice garnished with chopped scallions.
You could top the chicken with some chopped peanuts and red chili flakes for added texture and spice.
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