king queen in my kitchen, especially on busy week nights when dinner often takes second (or third) place behind work and homework and after school activities (and exhaustion). They’re quick and a great way to make the most of whatever’s hanging out in your fridge or pantry. You can mix up your proteins and veggies and mix a tasty sauce up with a few of your pantry essentials. Check out Five Must Have Ingredients to Stock Your Asian Pantry for inspiration.
This Cashew Chicken is a perfect go-to dish when dinner in a hurry is what’s on the menu. If you’re like me – a dedicated apostle in the church of the boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs – you’ll have these on hand All. The. Time. Add your favorite veggies, a l’il sauce, a quick turn in a really hot pan and you’ll have dinner on the table in minutes! Here are a few tips to elevate your stir-fry game.
1. Stir-frying is quick so it’s important to have your mise en place ready to go when you turn on the heat.
2. Size matters when you’re stir-frying. Make sure you cut all your veggies and your proteins about the same size so they’ll cook in about the same amount of time.
3. Hot woks (or pans) are key to a yummy stir-fry. Give your wok/pan and oil time to heat up before you start cooking.
4. Don’t crowd your wok/pan. The more food you add, the lower the temperature gets.
5. To thicken your stir-fry sauce toss your raw protein in cornstarch or flour or make a slurry to stir into your sauce as it cooks.
6. Once you’ve added your food to your wok/pan, keep it moving. (This is an exception to my Too Much of a Stir rule.) Your wok/pan’s high temp can burn if food’s left in one place too long.
Watch your temperature. Stir-frys are meant to be cooked quickly. You’ll need a medium-high to high temperature to get it done.
Stir-frys don’t require a lot of oil but it’s important that you choose one with a high smoke point that can withstand a stir-fry’s high temperature.
Typical stir-fry ingredients like soy sauce, hoisin sauce and fish sauce have pretty high salt content so add additional salt sparingly.
Don’t overcook your veggies or your protein. Beef and chicken should be tender and juicy. Veggies should be crisp-tender.
Wok or Large Sauté Pan
Wooden Spoon or Spatula
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 4 green onions, white and light green part chopped, green part cut into strips
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 cups broccoli florets, trimmed
- 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha (or more, to taste)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Toss chicken with cornstarch in a medium bowl until chicken is lightly coated.
- Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or large sauté pan over medium-high. Add nuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Return wok/pan to medium-high heat and add vegetable oil. Add half the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken begins to brown, 3-5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Return pan to heat and add remaining chicken. Cook, stirring frequently, until brown, another 3-5 minutes.
- Add the first batch of chicken back to the wok/pan along with the garlic and green onions. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in red bell pepper and broccoli and cook until veggies soften but are still brightly colored, about 3 minutes.
- Add sauce to pan, stirring to make sure chicken and veggies are evenly coated. Cook 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. Stir in nuts.
- Serve with cooked white rice or noodles. Garnish with green onions cut into thin strips.