Ginger Orange Cashew Chicken
I came across the basis for this recipe in Kenny Shopsin’s book ‘Eat Me’. His recipe is one of the more spectacular of them, if only for its relative simplicity, quick cooking time and lack of corn starch. I’ve added a couple of my favorite flavors, but more importantly, along with the recipe Shopsin reminds us of the fine art of sautéing, which is imperative knowledge for any good cook.
It does well to be reminded that the word sauté is derived from the French verb sauter, meaning to jump, leap, to blow up or explode, this referring to the action of the food when it hits a very hot pan. When sautéing, heat the pan first, when you think it is hot, sprinkle a few drops of water on the pan with your finger tips, if it immediately evaporates, you know it’s at least 212 degrees, a good starting point.
Then add your fats; butter, oil, or ghee and watch it carefully, since they all take heat differently. The trick is to catch it before it smokes and then add your ingredients, which will cool the pan down to the proper cooking temp. Look for striations in the oil as you tilt the pan from side to side, or slight browning in the butter. Both of these are good signs that it’s time to throw in your proteins and watch them jump!
Looking for a bit more exotic flavor? Try using Cara Cara or Blood oranges instead of Navel or Valencia. Their richer, slightly blackberry notes bring an added depth to the dish you'll love!
- 2 6oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into bite-size pieces
- All-purpose flour for dredging
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp finely minced ginger
- 1/2 cup roasted cashews
- 4 scallions (white and green parts), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 orange for juicing, (blood oranges are wonderful for this but any will do)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock, or more as needed
- Steamed white rice for serving
- Pour the flour onto a plate or small bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off the excess.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy sauté pan over high heat until hot, but not yet smoking.
- Place the chicken pieces evenly distributed around the pan being careful to not splatter the hot oil. Let the chicken cook, without stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. When brown, flip and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, toss in ginger, scallions and cashews, agitating the pan quickly for 30 seconds until the ginger becomes acutely aromatic.
- Add the soy sauce and squeeze in the juice of the orange.
- Toss the pieces to cover all with the sauce.
- Pour in the chicken stock and add more if necessary to almost cover the chicken, cook for another 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.
- Pour the chicken and sauce over rice and serve.