Monday, May 28, 2012

Cashew Chicken and Shrimp with Vegetables

My mom's birthday was last week so I went home to celebrate. And I had just finished my last full semester of school ever so I had some a ton of celebrating to do as well.

all of the essentials.

mother and daughters

For dinner, my mom wanted to have Asian food but didn't feel like going out. I know that my mom loves dishes that mix chicken, shrimp, and a bunch of fresh vegetables and her favorite dish at the Thai restaurant we go to contains cashews. I went on the hunt for the perfect recipe but couldn't find one so I made up my own! Because it was my first attempt at cooking any type of Asian dish and I wasn't following a recipe, I was so nervous that I was going to ruin my mom's birthday with a soggy tasteless stir-fry.

It actually turned out great! Everyone at the party was a fan! It had enough spice to make my mom happy but was still mild enough to please my grandmother, who usually cannot handle any heat whatsoever. I can't take credit for having a perfect calculation for the right amount of sriracha. I just got really really really lucky. I think my kimono-ish top was my inspiration; I went all out :)

my best friend Katie was being a wonderful assistant :)
my mom and I and the sushi appetizer
Jared giving his seal of approval
happy to be with my family and friends + sangria = the typical over-smile
Ken and I :)
 If you like cashew chicken dishes from Chinese take-out, you should give this a try. However, I would cut the recipe in half because this served about 5 people and we ate it for dinner the next night AND I had some for lunch for a couple days. So I estimated that this would serve 10 dinner-sized portions. It was pretty easy to throw together (I was drinking sangria, chatting, and cooking and I didn't catch my kimono on fire so it can't be THAT hard) and is a way healthier and fresher option. This success has me eager to try the billion Asian recipes that I have bookmarked. I can't wait!

Cashew Chicken Stir Fry (10 servings)
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 ¼ cups of chicken broth
  • ¾ cup hoisin sauce
  •  2 tablespoon Sriracha + extra for garnish
  • 6 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews + extra for garnish
  • 3 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 peppers, cut into strips
  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 2 8 oz bags sugar snap peas
  • 1 15 oz can baby corn
  • 1 8 oz can water chestnuts
  • Rice, for serving
1.       Cook rice according to package directions.
2.        In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water/chicken broth and whisk until smooth. Stir in hoisin, vinegar and sriracha and set aside.
3.       Add oil to wok or large skillet and set over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cashews and stir until garlic is golden and fragrant. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then add to wok. Cook until chicken is no longer pink.
4.       Add broccoli and cornstarch mixture and cook for about 2 minutes. Add peppers and shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes. Add sugar snap peas, baby corn, and water chestnuts and cook another 4 minutes, stirring frequently or until sauce has thickened.
5.       Serve with rice and additional sriracha and cashews for topping, if desired.

chicken and cashews
chicken, cashews, broccoli, and sauce
finished product!

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