Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Recipe corner: Cashew chicken with egg fried rice and crispy garlic kale

Photo courtesy of the BBC Good Food website

Usually, you have to put up with my less than stellar food photography - however, on this occasion, I have shamelessly borrowed someone else's so you can see what this dish could look like.

I did snap it myself and ended up with this:

Photo courtesy of me and several glasses of wine
The less said the better, eh?

I served this for our Friday night supper last week and we both hoovered it up, making yummy noises all the while.  Cashew chicken is one of my favourite dishes from the Chinese takeaway, so I expected to be all over it, but D was looking forward to it rather less - he was happy to revise his original opinion on eating.  It doesn't have many ingredients, and I considered adding garlic or more spicing to the stir fry, but stuck to the original recipe and actually, I think the deeply savoury simplicity of it is the charm.

This recipe is absurdly simple for all that it requires a wee bit of prep, and if you want properly good egg fried rice you really do need to initially cook the rice the day before.

Ingredients - chicken

2 skinless chicken breasts, chopped into chunks
1 egg white
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornflour
50g cashew nuts
1 tbsp rice wine (or dry Sherry at a pinch)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp vegetable oil

Ingredients - rice

100g basmati rice
1 egg
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp vegetable oil

Ingredients - crispy kale

Several large handfuls of kale
Tbsp garlic oil

3-4 spring onions, shredded

The day before (or, at least far enough in advance to allow it to cool properly) cook the basmati rice.  Cool and refrigerate until needed.

Combine the chicken with the egg white, the sesame oil, the cornflour and a touch of judicious seasoning and set aside for at least 20-30 mins prior to cooking.  Preheat the oven to 180.

Beat the egg together with the chilli flakes, the five spice and a decent pinch of salt and set aside.

Bring a pan of water up to the boil, and simmer the chicken for 4-5 mins until the meat has turned completely white.  This is known as velveting - you can also do it in hot oil but this method has the virtue of being somewhat lower in fat.

Now, you want two large frying pans or woks on the go at the same time, so get them on the hob to heat up while you toss the kale in the garlic oil and some salt and pepper and place in the hot oven to roast for around 10 mins until crispy (but not too singed).

Put the oil into the hot pans.  In one, add the cooled basmati rice, in the other, the cashew nuts.

Cook the nuts for around a minute, and then pour in the rice wine and the soy sauce and allow them to bubble down slightly, before adding the chicken.

Now add the beaten egg to the rice and stir well to combine.  Both the chicken and the eggy rice should cook for a further couple of minutes.  Ensure the chicken is entirely cooked through before serving (the easiest way to do this is by eating a chunk and that is the cook's prerogative).

Serve with the kale - I used my crispy greens as a base for the whole, but dumping it on the side is equally valid.  Either way is absolutely delicious.  Sprinkle the shredded spring onions over the top as an artistic garnish.


  1. Ooh this looks good! Might give it a go with tofu (I'm veggie)... I'm a sucker for anything garlicky!

    1. Mmmmm, I LOVE tofu in Chinese dishes! You probably wouldn't need to do the initial velveting stage s could use the sesame oil (which is an important flavour note) as a finishing touch instead. I think the soft tofu would be a brilliant foil for the crunchy cashews - tempted to try it myself! x

  2. Oh yeah - that is gonna get COOKED!!