Cashew Chicken is one of the most popular Chinese-American dishes. This dish was first served in Springfield, Missouri by Chef David Leong who moved from China to the USA in 1940. For the locals to try his Chinese dishes, he struggled to combine dishes from his homeland with ingredients that would appeal to the American taste. Shortly after this dish became popular, he opened Leong’s Tea House in Springfield , Missouri where is it often cited as the “unofficial” dish of the city.
The original Cashew Chicken was deep fried chicken, cashews and thick oyster sauce. This version is a spin off of the original. The chicken is stir fried then combined with the oyster sauce mixture, cashews and green bell peppers.
My version is slightly different where I stir fry the onions and peppers separate from the chicken and the sauce. This method keeps the onions and peppers crisp and let’s it retain the bright colors.
Another trick for this dish is the method called “Velvetizing”. Velvetizing is cooking style where you slowly poach the meat in low temperature oil resulting to tender slices of meat. Usually “veltvetizing” calls for egg whites, but for this dish we will only use cornstarch and water.
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tbsp rice wine or sherry
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp water
2 cups oil for poaching chicken
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 medium onion diced
1 green bell pepper, cubed
For the sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp rice wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup roasted cashews
In a bowl combine chicken, rice wine cornstarch and water. Marinate for 15 minutes.
In a separate bowl combine oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, pepper, rice wine and sesame oil. Mix until the sugar dissolves. Set side.
In a deep pan, heat oil in medium heat. Place chicken in oil and poach it until the chicken turns slightly white around 7 minutes. Remove the chicken from pan and drain the excess oil. Set aside.
Remove oil from the pan and leave 1 tbsp. Stir fry ginger, onions and green bell peppers for 3 minutes.
Put the chicken back to the pan and pour in the oyster mixture. Toss the chicken in the sauce until well covered. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the cashews.
Serve over steamed rice.