A twist on the classic ‘Cashew Chicken’. This dish features celery as the main ingredient, making for a healthier option. Season the chicken well, according to your personal taste. A dash of paprika or turmeric adds a more exotic flavor. Chili powder offers a spicy kick. The small amount of protein will go a long way in enticing the palette. Picky eaters will forget they are eating vegetables.
1/2 lb chicken, cubed, and lightly seasoned with cornstarch and pepper
3 cups celery, diced
A handful of roasted cashews
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1. Fry garlic till just about to turn golden.
2. Toss chicken and quickly fry till half-cooked.
3. Add celery, starting with stems which take more time to cook than leaves, if any.
4. Season with soy sauce and oyster sauce. Lower heat and cook for 1 minute.
Summer brings with it long days, sunshine, clear skies and its cornucopia of lush fruits and vegetables. Looking around my kitchen one afternoon, wondering what to make for dinner, I pondered a single leftover sun-ripened tomato-in-vine and an ear of white corn that recently left the farm. Now I can feast on corn boiled in nothing but water for the entire harvest season, as I had done the past 2 days, but my husband does not care for the flossing that needs follow. A quick look around my pantry resulted in this global mix of cuisine – north asian noodles with south-east asian dried seafood with summer bounty found in western climes.
2 skeins shanghai (white) noodles, cooked according to instructions
1 ripe tomato
1 white or sweet corn, kernels shucked
3 sprigs leaves from shallots, chopped finely (or spring onions)
4 chinese dried mushrooms, soaked and sliced
tip-of-handful dried shrimp, soaked
tip-of-handful ikan bilis (anchovies), soaked to remove excessive salt
2 dried scallops, soaked to soften
chinese cooking wine
Saute garlic till fragrant.
Add corn kernels and stir-fry generously for about 30 seconds.
Add in dried mushrooms and keep frying at high heat.
Add in shrimp, ikan bilis and scallops till mostly cooked.
Toss in tomatoes and give it quick stir. The ingredients should be mostly quite dry by now.
Add a splash of cooking wine, a dash of fish sauce adjusted to taste and about 2 tbsp of water reserved from soaked shrimp and scallops. Keep heat high for 10 seconds before lowering to medium heat to simmer for about 1 minute.
Stir in shallot leaves before serving.
Diced chicken with cashew nuts and celery is a staple in any chinese restaurant in the bay area. I have often found it slightly odd because growing up, celery was imported and not a common food item. It was not easily found in a wet market, and if it were, probably did not offer as much value for money as spinach or choy sum or kai lan. Nonetheless, this dish is common in the American-Chinese diet, just as broccoli beef is (that’s a story for another day).
1 chicken breast, diced
½ bunch celery, diced
½ cup raw cashew nuts
1 tbsp corn/potato starch
1 tbsp soy sauce
dash of sesame oil
dash of pepper
1. Marinate chicken. Leave in fridge for an hour.
2. Saute garlic till fragrant.
3. Just as garlic starts to turn brown, chicken and saute on high heat to seal in flavours.
4. When edges of chicken starts to brown, add cashews and saute till nuts also start to just very slightly brown.
5. Add celery. Give a couple of quick stirs, about 30 seconds.
6.Simmer in 2-3 tbsp water, or reserved liquids from soaking mushrooms or shrimp, till liquid is mostly absorbed.