I love Sundays! They always feel so lazy and decadent after a busy Friday and Saturday. Last night, Mr.S. and I had a date night and went to the Crest to see my all-time favorite comedian, Margaret Cho. I've seen her a ton of times over the years (going as far back as when she used to headline at the Punchline) and last night she didn't disappoint. She even played the guitar and sang a hilarious song called, "Fat P*ssy." Mr.S. had never seen her live before and he thoroughly enjoyed her show.
Afterwards, we grabbed a late night bite at Broderick (man, that place never disappoints!) and went to bed pretty late. So when this morning rolled around, I was tired and didn't want to get out of bed or change from my PJs. I stayed in them until almost 11am. Can you say L-A-Z-Y? ☺ I did eventually get dressed because I was meeting a friend at Old Soul at 40 Acres for some coffee and a bite. Grabbing good coffee always motivates me to get off my bum.
Anyhow since I was tired and staying at the cottage tonight, I wanted to make something super simple (I hate doing dishes). I originally found this recipe on a food blog (the name eludes me at the moment) but that blogger had adapted it from a Martha Stewart recipe. I've made the Martha version several times since I stumbled upon it, changing bits and pieces here and there as I went along to accommodate my own personal taste. I've finally reached a point where I'm done tinkering with it. It's a great quick meal for those nights you're dining solo and want to be able to make something on auto-pilot. I have also made this dish for Mr.S. (who at times can be a finicky eater) and he really likes it. What's also great about this dish is that you can pair it with quinoa, brown rice, farro or even noodles. You can also add additional veggies to make it more nutritious- I've added onions, red bell pepper, scallions, carrots and even steamed broccoli to the mix depending on my mood. It's a very versatile dish. (I may even make it for the kidlets soon and just leave out the red pepper.)
Spicy Cashew Chicken
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch bite-sized cubes (boneless, skinless chicken thighs work well too)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons of peanut oil
6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1-inch piece of peeled ginger, grated
1/2 to 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of unseasoned rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons of hoisin
1 tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons of brown sugar (optional)
1/2 cup chicken stock (or water)
a couple of light shakes of Chinese black vinegar (available at most Asian grocery stores)
1/2 cup sugar snap peas
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup of roasted cashews (you can roast themselves if you wish, just buy unsalted raw cashews to do so)
couple of shakes of toasted sesame oil
1. In a bowl, toss chicken cubes with cornstarch and a pinch or two of fresh ground pepper. Make sure the bits are evenly coated. (Alternate method: You can put the cornstarch and pepper in a Ziploc bag, add the chicken and shake it up.) The cornstarch coating will make your chicken tender and keep it moist.
2. In a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat , heat up your oil until it's really hot. Toss in your chicken, stirring occasionally so that all sides of the chicken cubes get cooked. (Don't crowd the pieces, you want it to sear evenly.) When done, remove chicken and set aside in a bowl.
3. In the same skillet you were using, add the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Then add back in the cooked chicken.
4. Add the rice wine vinegar, hoisin, soy sauce, brown sugar, chicken stock and few shakes of Chinese black vinegar. Stir everything together so that the flavors can meld. Bring to a nice simmer and let the ingredients cook together for 2-3 minutes. Add in your sugar snap peas. Taste the sauce, add some salt and pepper if you wish.
5. Toss in the roasted cashews. Give the dishes a shake or two of sesame oil. Mix everything well.
6. Serve hot over your favorite side- rice, quinoa, farro, noodles, etc..