Hye Thyme Cafe: Cashew Chicken

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cashew Chicken

Cashew Chicken : Hye Thyme Cafe

Growing up in the Boston area, I used to love when the folks would take us to Faneuil Hall Marketplace to wander around in all the cool shops and go to brunch at The Magic Pan Crepe Shop. My favorites were always their Chicken Divan Crepe and their Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Almonds. It wasn't until I was in college that my roommate talked me into deviating from the crepes and trying their Cashew Chicken. I was always torn after that - crepes or chicken??  

I haven't been able to find their recipes, and it's been so long, I don't know that I would recognize them if I was eating them. In the meantime, I threw together this Cashew Chicken and really enjoyed it. The only thing I'll pay attention to next time is that when making a recipe using already cooked chicken, I'll make sure the chicken isn't still warm form it's first use - usually, I won't do anything with leftovers until the next day, so it's already cold in the fridge. In this instance, my chicken was still warm, so it sort of shredded as I was mixing everything together.  

2T butter
1 lg onion, rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 c snow peas
8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t black pepper
+/- 2c diced cooked chicken
1 c chicken broth
1/3 c low sodium soy sauce
3 T corn starch
2 scallions, chopped and separated
1 c lightly salted whole cashews
Plain white rice (optional)

I usually sauté in a little olive or canola oil, but in thinking about the buttery flavor of the cashews, I decided to go with that and use butter here. As for seasoning, because the cashews I buy are  salted, I did not add any additional salt. If your nuts are not salted, you might want to add some salt to the onions at the beginning, or use regular soy sauce, which is saltier than the low sodium version.
  1. Sauté the onions and garlic in the 2T butter until the onions start to soften
  2. Add the snow peas, crused red pepper, and black pepper, and continue cooking for another minute
  3. Add the water chestnuts and chicken
  4. In a 2c measuring cup, measure out the chicken broth, add the soy sauce, then stir in the cornstarch to create a slurry - pour over the chicken mixture
  5. Bring up to a boil to heat the chicken through and thicken the sauce
  6. Remove from heat and stir in scallion bottoms (reserve green ends for garnish) and cashews (you don't want to add the nuts too early, as they will soften from the heat)
  7. Serve over plain white rice if desired
  8. Garnish with the reserved scallion greens

Saute onion and garlic in butter
Add snow peas, crushed red pepper, and black pepper

Add water chestnuts and chicken
Create slurry of chicken broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch

Bring to a boil to heat chicken through and thicken sauce

Remove from heat and stir in cashews

Garnish with chopped scallion and serve over white rice if desired

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