Posts tagged ‘stir-fry’

November 3, 2011

Chicken with Cashews

I’ve been making this cashew chicken stir-fry for almost 10 years, and it is always a crowd-pleaser. The kids fight over the cashews and baby corn, and my husband usually eats three servings of it. For two consecutive years, S asked for it for her birthday dinner. Which is saying a lot, since S is not a child who likes stir-fries, for the most part.

Although the recipe is pretty straightforward, there are a number of components to it. And truth be told, I often wish I had a sous chef by the time I’m done prepping this meal. But part of it is my fault, because I like to include a lot of different vegetables. You can pretty much use whatever is in season, from asparagus to zucchini to broccoli and red bell peppers and sugar snap peas. Some of my favorites include shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts and baby corn. You could also substitute shrimp, pork or tofu for the chicken.

I send leftovers to school over some steamed rice and packed in a Thermos.

Chicken with Cashews (adapted from A Spoonful of Ginger)

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)


2 TB soy sauce or tamari

1 1/2 TB rice wine or sake

1 tsp sesame oil

1 TB minced fresh ginger

1 tsp cornstarch


4 TB canola oil


Seasonings and Vegetables

1 1/2 TB minced scallions, white part only (optional)

2 TB minced garlic

1 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts

1 7-oz. can chopped baby corn

1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper

1/2 c. sliced carrots

1/2 lb. sugar snap peas


Sauce (mixed together)

1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

5 TB soy sauce or tamari

4 1/2 TB rice wine or sake

2 1/2 TB sugar

2 tsp sesame oil

3 tsp Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce

3 TB cornstarch


1 1/4 c. dry-roasted cashews


1. Mix together the marinade ingredients, and toss the chicken cubes to coat them. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Heat a wok or skillet, add 2 TB of oil, heat until very hot, and add the chicken. Cook over high heat until the chicken becomes opaque and are cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Wipe out the pan.

3. Reheat the pan, add the remaining 2 TB oil, heat, and add the seasonings. Stir-fry for 15 seconds, then add the vegetables and stir-fry over high heat for three minutes. Add the premixed sauce and cook, storing continuously, to prevent lumps, until thickened. Return the cooked chicken to the wok and add the cashews. Toss lightly to coat and heat through. Serve with steamed rice.

September 7, 2011

Hump Day Calls for Leftover Beef Stir-Fry

Leftovers: love it or hate it? Thankfully, at my house the kids are happy to have the same meal again. And this makes packing lunch a little easier.

Last night, I stir-fried beef with broccoli, carrots and baby corn for dinner. As usual, it was a hit with my son, C. But, for reasons that I can’t understand, S is not a fan of stir-fries. She’ll eat them, but likes to remind me, “It’s not my favorite.”  Yeah, well, this is one of my favorite stir-fries, and I do the cooking. So, there will be plenty of stir-fries in her future. She does, however, love baby corn.

In any case, she found it in her lunchbox today. On the bright side, stir-fries are easy to pack and hold up really well. I checked the Thermos when she got home, and pretty much everything was eaten except for some rice. Oh, yeah, S doesn’t really like rice either. Unless it’s rolled in seaweed. In which case, she loves it.

Here’s the adapted recipe from The Food of China. In the cookbook, it’s a crispy noodle dish with beef and snow peas, but I’ve changed it to a rice dish. Feel free to try it both ways, and use any fresh vegetables you have on hand.

Warning: this is really yummy!

Beef Stir-fry with Broccoli, Carrots and Baby Corn

3/4 lb. flank steak or top round  (cut against the grain into 1 1/2″ squares that are 1/8″ thick)

1 TB dark soy sauce (light is fine, too)

1/2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine

1/2 tsp sugar

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp cornstarch

2  cups broccoli florets

3/4 cup carrots, 1/4″ thick cut on the diagonal

1 can baby corn, cut up

2 TB vegetable oil


1 TB finely chopped ginger

1 1/4 cups chicken stock

3 TB oyster sauce

1 TB Shaoxing rice wine

1/2 tsp dark or light soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1 1/2 TB cornstarch (2 TB, if you want a thicker sauce)

Serves 4

Combine the beef, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, garlic, cornstarch (1 tsp), and sesame oil (1/2 tsp), and toss lightly. Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Blanch the broccoli in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and refresh immediately in cold water. Dry thoroughly.

Heat a wok over high heat, add 2 TB oil and heat until very hot. Drain the beef and stir-fry in batches for 1 minute, or until the beef changes color. Remove with a wire strainer or slotted spoon, and drain. Reserve the oil.

To make the sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients together except for the ginger and stir well, making sure the cornstarch is well combined.

Reheat the reserved oil over high heat until very hot and stir-fry the ginger for 10 seconds. Add the carrots, broccoli and baby corn, and cook for for 1 – 2 minutes. Pour in the sauce ingredients and simmer until thickened. Add the beef, toss to coat with the sauce, and serve over steamed rice.

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