If your family likes Chinese food, they’ll be singing your praises for this: tender chunks of stir-fried chicken, crispy roasted cashews and bright green scallions in an authentic brown garlic sauce. It tastes just like take-out, only better — much better.
You don’t need a wok…just a large, nonstick skillet. And, aside from the chicken, the only chopping involves some garlic and scallions. The rest — I kid you not — comes out of bottles and jars.
The only way to mess it up is to overcook the chicken, so be sure not to cut the chicken pieces too small (they will cook too fast), have all your ingredients prepped before you start cooking and, obviously, don’t cook the chicken too long.
Also, be sure to get a good quality hoisin sauce; it makes all the difference. I like Kikkoman (I found it at Whole Foods) or Lee Kum Kee (I found it at Giant, my local grocery store).
You’ll be amazed how much better it feels to eat fresh, homemade Chinese food — and it won’t take you any longer to cook than it would to call it in and wait for it.
Serve with white rice and steamed broccoli…Enjoy!
¾ cup roasted, unsalted cashews (these are sometimes in the produce section)
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into 1-1 ½ inch pieces*
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 medium garlic cloves, minced (use a garlic press)
8 scallions (1 bunch), white and green parts separated, each cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce (best brands are Kikkoman or Lee Kum Kee)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Start cooking rice, if making.)
2. Place cashews on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool.
3. Place chicken pieces in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.
4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over high heat until very hot. Add half** the chicken to the skillet and stir-fry (stir as you cook) until lightly browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
5. Add the remaining tablespoon vegetable oil to the skillet; then add remaining chicken, garlic and white parts of the scallions. Stir-fry until the chicken is lightly browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes. Return the first batch of chicken to the pan. Turn heat down to medium and add the rice vinegar; cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds.
6. Add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and water; cook, tossing, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the scallion greens, cashews and sesame oil. Serve immediately.
*Chicken pieces should all be roughly the same size so they cook evenly. Since chicken breasts are not uniform thickness, compensate by making the thinner pieces a bit bigger.
**The reason the chicken is cooked in two batches is because it will not sear properly if crowded into the pan. You want it in a single layer.