Thursday, January 4, 2018

Chilli Chicken with Cashews

This dish was not on the menu this week but as I (yes me I'm guilty) had forgotten to defrost steak to cook what we had planned so while at the supermarket after work I purchased some chicken fillets - you can do anything with chicken fillets.  Not to mention that most chicken recipes, besides roasts, are quick and easy.
Even though we had Chicken Tikka Masala last night which cured my curry craving my taste buds were still fancying something a little spicy and different.  But what?  From the minute I got home there were so many ideas and some suggestions including Nice Chicken, which is a classic back up meal in our household made using hoisin sauce and cayenne pepper.  I did not fancy that.  Time to phone a friend, well not really, I turned my search for something dinner over to google.  I thought I want spicy so let's try chilli chicken recipes.  Next obvious decision was cuisine - did I want Indian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Southern, Indo Chinese???
After reading a few recipes I went along with a combination of Chinese and Indian style of cooking, which is actually refered to as "Hakka Chinese" and commonly called 'Desi Chinese' is the adaptation of using Chinese seasonings and cooking techniques to Indian tastes. See - you can learn something everyday.  I then went on a morphed a few recipes together to come up with my version of Chilli Chicken with Cashews.

An interesting thing I discovered while ready the worldwide web of recipes was that the Asians cook two different versions of Chilli Chicken - one is dry and the other is known as "with Gravy" which means sauce.  Both versions are similar throughout the recipe with the second adding extra sauce prior to serving the dish hence making the gravy.  I'm not really sure about this recipe we cooked as it wasn't dry or wasn't smothered in sauce - the sauce quantity was perfect to be honest.

Hot chilli sauce was the main ingredient in the taste of this recipe so I knew that it should be kickass and not just an Aussie Style Chilli - please welcome Sriracha Sauce to the table..... I can hear some of you saying "Hell Yeah!" and others saying "Oh no too hot!".  To be honest it's a sauce that we really don't use a lot of, no idea as to why, just don't.  This chicken dish just got a little more exciting.

The sweetness of the tomato ketchup, the saltiness of the soy and the heat of the Sriracha - talk about a perfect combination.  Crunchy capsicums and cashews added to the texture and the chicken, well talk about cooked perfectly, tender and moist.  The chicken absorbed the flavours of the marinade and the sauce during cooking and was absolutely scrumptious.

We really enjoyed this dish and hope you do too.

  Chilli Chicken with Cashews
Serves: 4
SmartPoints: 10
500 grams chicken breasts , boneless, cut into pieces
1 egg
5 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce or hot chilli sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 teaspoon corn flour
1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon white vinegar
3 tablespoon oil, extra
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1 red onion, diced
1 small green capsicum, diced
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 long red chilli, sliced 
1/4 cup water
1 spring onion, sliced, for garnish

In a small mixing bowl, 2 teaspoons of Sriracha sauce, salt, pepper, corn flour and egg. Mix well and add chicken.  Combine well to ensure the chicken is completely coated. Set aside for 1 hour, or longer if time permits.
In a wok or frying pan, add 1/2 cup oil and heat it over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the chicken pieces in small batches for about 3 minutes or until just cooked. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate.  Repeat with remaining chicken.  Remove all oil from wok or pan.  Wipe out with paper towel.  

In a separate bowl, add remaining chilli sauce (3 teaspoons), white vinegar, soy sauce and tomato ketchup. Combine them well and set aside.
In the same pan add 3 tablespoons of oil.  Heat over medium heat until the oil is hot, add ginger, garlic and onions.  Cook for 5 minutes or until the onions become translucent and become slightly brown.

Increase to high heat and add capsicums and cashews. Fry, stirring for 1 minute.

Reduce heat to medium and add the chillies and the sauce mixture.

Add chicken pieces and mix to combine.  Add the water and cook until the water is absorbed.

Garnish with spring onions and serve immediately.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)