Sunday, March 17, 2013

Polly's Cashew Chicken - YIAO GUWO JI DIEN

Sometimes, you really wanted to eat well, and wondered what to do with all those celery in the vegetable compartment?  Make fresh health drinks, eat raw, etc... a number of recipes come to mind, then, again, noooot... I don't know why, but sometimes, you just don't feel like it.  But this time, I see a jar of nuts that I bought from COSTCO with various types of nuts in it.  And I noticed there are bunch of cashew nuts in it more than other nuts.  The Cashew Chicken! I thought.  Cashew Chicken is not our traditional family dish when I was growing up.  Because cashew nuts were not available at the local markets,  they are imported.     But here they are, right before me are the great tasting cashews.   So, for my office lunch, I made this in the morning right before I left the door.... nope! it didn't last till lunch time.  I end up eating it as a breakfast.  

Tip:  In Chinese cooking, you often stir fry ingredients and set aside to stir fry the next ingredients, then combine them together for the finale. 

I remember my mother always marinate the meat in KATAKURIKO (Japanese potato starch) with some seasonings.  It makes them taste tender, seal the flavor, etc.
1/3 - 1/2 Cup Cashew nuts - Toasted in some olive oil in the Wok and set aside.
Slice chicken breast thinly (as you know they normally shrink and become thicker as they are cooked.)
Marinate with 2 tsp of KATAKURIKO and pinch of salt (potato starch or Corn starch.  *FYI - Cornstarch prepared food tend to form 'water' in the overnighted dish in refrigerator.)
White ground pepper
Some water
3 Defibered/deveined celery sticks - sliced slanted into 1/2 chunks.  To defiber - pull down (toward back - convex side) at the stalk joint where leaves start to grow and pull down toward the root.  It will pull the stalk fibre off to make it more tender and less fibrous when chewing.) 

 I didn't remembered about thinly slicing the chicken until afterwards, as I have not cooked the chicken this way for a while.  Then, I remembered what my mother said, to slice chicken fairly think for better taste.
Stir fry the chicken breast - Medium high heat just enough till most of the pink is gone. 30 seconds to 45 seconds.  Normally for a larger family dish, meat will be taken out and set aside and celery is stir fried next in the same Wok and in the same oil left behind.
 As this is a small batch, and I am in a hurry, I add the celeries.  Stir fry for 30 seconds at medium high heat. 
 Add Cashew nuts.  Add salt and white ground pepper to taste.  
** If  liquid is desired in this dish, add 2 Tablespoon of water.  This will cause the interaction with the starch enveloping the chicken slices and thicken.  Otherwise, make the starch slur and add to the Wok and bring the liquid to boil and cook for a minute longer.  
Remove from heat and serve.
 Taste the celery.  If you like the crisp state that it is in.  It's done!.

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