Easy Cashew Chicken- Tasty bites of chicken in a light hoisin sauce with sautéed red bell pepper, celery and water chestnuts topped with crunchy cashews . You can have this on the table in about 15 min (if you use quick cooking rice). Skip the take out..make it at home. It’s so easy and more economical!
So here’s the thing…it’s 4 p.m. and you have a craving for Chinese. You come to the realization that you haven’t figured out what’s for dinner tonight and take-out is sounding like a good option. So here’s how the night could unfold: ( I’m saying “you” but really this is what happened to me )
- Call local Chinese restaurant – order Cashew Chicken . Drive there (time in car), wait (because is it ever ready when you get there?), pay ( $$$), drive home (time in car), get home ( change into comfy clothes ) heat up food (because it’s no longer hot.)
- Drive home (directly) Change into comfy clothes, pour yourself a glass of wine (yep! me) , cook a healthy version of cashew chicken for yourself (and family) in about 15-20 min. Sip wine while cooking, catch up with the family. Serve a hot & healthy meal in less time (and less $).
Oh course this assumes you have a few staples like chicken and rice in the house. Beyond that you can completely improvise.
Hoisin sauce is a good staple to have on hand, there are so many things that you can make with hoisin (and it has a long shelf life in the refrig) but if you don’t have hoisin, you can substitute 2 tsp. sesame oil, dash of soy sauce, black pepper and a splash of hot sauce (like sriracha).
I’m using red bell pepper, celery and water chestnuts, but you could use any veggies you have on hand. Broccoli? Snow peas? Frozen stir fry veggies? Don’t have cashews? No worries, try almonds or peanuts instead.
The point is, while take-out seems easier/faster….that’s not always the case. Not to mention that you know exactly what you’re getting when you’re making it yourself. (hello…no nasty MSG or anything!)
If I know I’m going to be pressed for time, I’ll do some of the prep work the night before. You can cook the rice and cut up the veggies. That way when you get home it’s just a quick and easy 10-15 min to get homemade cashew chicken on the table.
- 1 cup rice (jasmine, brown, or instant for quicker prep)
- 1 - 1.25 lbs. boneless skinless chicken (breast or thighs) cut into 1 inch pieces.
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce (found in most grocery stores in the Asian section)
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp low-sodium soy
- ½ tsp rice vinegar ( optional- I'm not a fan, so I make mine without)
- ½ tsp fresh ginger, minced (or ¼ tsp ground ginger)
- ½ tsp corn starch
- ½ red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- ½ cup sliced water chestnuts
- ¼ cup roasted cashews
- 2 green onions, green portion sliced for garnish
- Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside
- In a medium bowl combine 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat.
- In a large skillet heat canola and sesame oil over medium-high heat.. Add chicken and cook until golden brown and chicken is almost finished cooking. (approx. 6-8 min.)
- While chicken is cooking, wisk together chicken broth, hoisin, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar (if using), ginger and ½ tsp corn starch.
- When chicken is just about finished cooking add hoisin sauce mix and toss to coat . Cook for a minute or so until sauce starts to thicken. Add red bell peppers, celery, water chestnuts and cashews and mix to coat. Cook for an additional 1-2 min. until vegetables are cooked to your taste (I like them a little crispy so I cook for only about 1 min.)
- Serve over rice, and garnish with sliced green onions.