Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cashew Chicken

Just about everyone knows that when you're trying to eat healthy, stir fry is a good way to go. Minimal amount of oil, healthy veggies, rice... I mean c'mon, does it get healthier than that? But, unfortunately, no one is going to get excited about a bland bowl of vegetables and rice, so a flavorful sauce is a must. And that sauce is just one of the many reasons I love this dish.

I found this recipe through Eat Better America, on a free calender they sent me last year. Its arrival came at the perfect time because I was really getting tired of my own beginner's version of stir fry sauce, which sadly consisted of nothing more than chicken broth, corn starch, and way too much soy sauce. Having never used rice vinegar before, I remember being apprehensive about trying this dish... but the rice vinegar turned out to be my favorite part of the sauce! Combined with the small amount of sugar, it creates a wonderful little sweet-and-sour effect that is quite addicting. These days I find myself looking for new ways to use rice vinegar, so please feel free to share if you have any ideas!

With the spring semester now in full swing, fast meals that reheat well are also a must. I'm happy to say that this dish only takes about half an hour from start to finish, including prep work... in fact, if you use brown rice, the rice may take the longer to cook than the stir fry itself! But time rewards those who plan ahead, so feel free to use leftover rice or cook it the day before (chances are it will soak up more of the sauce too, hehe). Plus, this recipe is a great, healthier way to curb that Asian food craving, in about the same time it would take the delivery boy to show up from that greasy take out restaurant across town.

Cashew Chicken
adapted from Eat Better America
makes 4 servings

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces
2 cups frozen broccoli florets (one average sized bag)
1 14oz can reduced sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups frozen sugar snap peas (one average sized bag)
4 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
3 teaspoons rice vinegar
1.5 tablespoons corn starch
2 teaspoons sugar
3 medium green onions, sliced
4 servings hot brown rice
1/4 cup roasted cashew halves and pieces

1. In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes, or until chicken begins to brown.
2. Add broccoli, 3/4 cup of the broth, and the red pepper flakes. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring once. Add peas and cook 2-4 minutes longer, stirring once, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
3. In a small bowl, combine remaining 3/4 cup of broth, the soy sauce, vinegar, corn starch, and sugar; stir into the chicken mixture. Add onions and cashews, and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thickened and bubbly. Serve over rice, and enjoy!


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  2. This sounds fantastic! Easy to make and much better for you than takeout.


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