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Celebrating Chinese New Year with Cantonese cashew chicken

Celebrating Chinese New Year with Cantonese Cashew Chicken
Celebrating Chinese New Year with Cantonese Cashew ChickenChef Larry Edwards/Casa de Cuisine

To truly experience the wondrous joy of Chinese New Year (this year being the Year of the Horse), one must surround themselves with color, joy, laughter and great food. You don't have to be Chinese to celebrate this festive time of the year and many cities across American will be holding parades to honor the Year of the Horse during the 15-day celebration. Personally, I can't think of a better way of celebrating than with some classic dishes from China (real Chinese food, not Americanized Chinese food).

One of the classic dishes of Chinese cuisine is Cashew Chicken. In actuality, the correct name for this dish is Cantonese Cashew Chicken. Cantonese cuisine is one of the "tamer" cuisines of Chinese cooking as it is very seldom spicy hot.

You will notice there is not too much chicken in this dish, yet there is a lot of vegetables. This is one of the reasons why real Chinese food (as opposed to Americanized Chinese food) is considered one of the healthiest cuisines. The meat is used as an enhancer to the dish and not the main product. I particularly love this dish when it is served over steamed jasmine rice.

Ingredients needed to make Cantonese Cashew Chicken (serves 4):

  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, skinned, boned and cubed
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 2 cups chopped bok choy
  • ¼ cup water
  • 12 snow peas
  • 12 mushrooms, halved
  • 1 cup bamboo shoots, rinsed
  • ¼ cup chicken stock

Steps:

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the salt, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine and 1 ½ tsp. cornstarch.
  2. Place the chicken in a medium bowl. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the chicken and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and let marinate 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. In a medium sauté pan or skillet heat the oil over medium heat and add the chicken and stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  4. Into the sauté pan add the bok choy and ¼ cup water and cook 2 minutes. Add the snow peas, mushrooms and bamboo shoots and cook 2 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl whisk together the stock, marinade and remaining cornstarch until the cornstarch has dissolved. Stir into the sauté pan to combine.
  6. Add the chicken and stir until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Serve over steamed rice.

The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.