i love a good stir fry. it’s so simple and easy to put together, and you can totally throw in any veggies you have lying around. and for me, there’s something so comforting about a hot, steaming bowl of chinese food.
this cashew chicken is the perfect example of a great stir fry. the method for marinating the chicken, which i had never done before, is seriously amazing. you first marinate the chicken in baking soda, then in a mixture of cornstarch and rice vinegar. what you’re left with is the most tender, moist, juicy chicken i’ve ever seen come out of a frying pan. i don’t think i’ll ever stir fry chicken again without doing this first.
then, the perfect chicken is made even better when it is paired with earthy mushrooms and crunchy-yet-buttery cashews to create a balance of textures that is everything you could ever ask for. to top it all off, the flavors in the sauce bring everything together in a tangy, slightly sweet, slightly spicy, umami burst of goodness. served over a bed of freshly steamed rice, this stuff really couldn’t get any better.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon rice vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari if gluten free)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ cup cashews
- chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. put them into a ziplock bag, add the baking soda, and shake it around so that the baking soda coats the chicken evenly. let the chicken marinade like this in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- rinse the baking soda off the chicken. in another ziplock bag, combine the cornstarch and rice vinegar. add the chicken and shake the bag until it is coated. let the chicken marinade again in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- in a small bowl, combine the water, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, sriracha, and pepper. set aside.
- heat the oil in a large skillet (or a wok, if you've got one) over medium heat. add the chicken and cook it, stirring constantly, until it is white and just a tiny bit undercooked. transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside.
- add the onion, mushrooms, and ginger to the skillet that you just had the chicken in. cook it, still over medium heat, until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are soft, 5-10 minutes.
- add the chicken back to the skillet along with the green onions, garlic, and cashews. stir to combine everything, and cook the mixture for another 5 minutes.
- pour the sauce over the chicken and stir so that it coats everything. turn off the heat and let the skillet sit for a few minutes before serving (this will allow the sauce to thicken a bit).
- serve hot over a bed of rice. garnish with more green onions if you want.