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.
It is a cool evening, heralding the beginning of fall with the leaves rewarding with sights of yellow and orange and red everywhere we turn. Cool weather needs foods that bring comfort. In this all-in-one dinner recipe that was made with available ingredients in the fridge, ginger is added for its warming effect. For the noodles, any white wheat noodles will do. I prefer Hsin Tung Yang’s guan miao noodles.
1/2 lb chicken, cubed
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 tbsp shallots, sliced thinly
1/2 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
2 small or 1 medium sized carrots, cubed
1 tsp oyster sauce
2 skeins Taiwan (white) noodles, cooked according to instructions
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp chinese cooking wine
2-3 drops sesame oil
2 dashes white pepper
Marinate chicken for 10 minutes. Coat well with flour. Set aside.
Heat oil and sauté garlic, shallots and ginger till fragrant.
Add chicken and stir quickly , turning over cubes evenly.
When chicken is nearly cooked, add carrots and sauté well.
Stir in oyster sauce.
Add cooked noodles. Avoid adding the liquid from the noodles to the wok.
Toss thoroughly and serve.
Add a dash of soy sauce to taste if needed.
Lately, I am experimenting with pork fat. I sneaked in a couple of pieces along with the ginger, shallots and ginger. After adding the noodles, I felt we needed more veggies since I had not prepared a separate dish of vegetables. So I added a handful of frozen mixed vegetables that I had on hand. At the last minute, I spied my bottle of hay bee hiam (Nonya fried shrimp) which my family loves on a cool evening, and added a tbsp of that toward the end of the cooking as well.
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.
1 jar Bertolli’s mushroom alfredo sauce
Cream or half/half milk
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Brown chicken and garlic. Add mushrooms.
Season with paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper.
Add alfredo sauce. Stir continuously.
Add cream/milk and bring to near boil.
Add semi-cooked pasta. Continue to stir.
Lower heat and simmer till pasta is cooked.
Add Parmesan cheese and mix well. Mozzarella cheese works too.
Garnish with cilantro.
A traditional foochow (福州 Fúzhōu) dish made using the by-product that is collected when fermenting red rice wine or ang chow (红糟). Ang chow can be purchased in asian grocery stores. It is believed to be beneficial for women in confinement (the month after childbirth in chinese culture). It is traditionally served over mee sua (white noodles), symbolizing long life. I serve it over rice to soak up all the sauces. Ginger is crucial in this dish, I recommend adjusting the amount depending on whether you are using young or old ginger.
1 kg chicken thighs/wings/drumsticks
4 tbsp ang chow (red rice wine dregs)
Handful dried shitake mushrooms, soaked and softened (reserve some of the water)
Handful black fungus (‘Jew’s Ear’), soaked and softened
Ginger, sliced or thinly grated
150 ml rice wine (optional)
Salt/Sugar to taste
Fry ginger and garlic in sesame oil till fragrant.
Add ang chow on medium heat and stir till aromas are released.
Increase heat and add chicken. Cook and coat well in ang chow.
Add rice wine according to preference, and some soy sauce to taste.
Add mushrooms and fungus.
Add some water to cover about 1/3 of the chicken.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
Add soy sauce/sugar if accordingly if necessary.
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cooking wine
Salt and pepper
½ chinese cabbage, cut into 2″ pieces
½ chicken breast, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp cooking wine
½” ginger, minced
Marinate chicken and chill for 2 hours.
Saute ginger and spring onions.
Add chicken and cook till nearly through.
Add soy sauce and cooking wine.
1 chicken breast, cut into pieces
1 red or green pepper, julienned
½ carrot, diced
½ ginger, chopped finely
1 spring onion, cut into 1″ strips
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tbsp sesame oil
Marinate chicken in soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch.
Saute ginger and spring onions till fragrant.
Add chicken and fry till nearly cooked.
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp sesame seed oil
500g (1 lb) chicken breast, boned & cut into medium chunks
4 spring onions, cut into 2″ each
2″ ginger, shredded
1 stick celery, shredded
Aluminium foil, cut into pieces large enough to enclose each piece of chicken generously
Serves 4 – 6
Marinate chicken in soy sauce, wine & sesame seed oil.
Brush foil with oil. Place a piece of chicken in centre. Top with a piece of spring onion, some ginger & celery. Fold foil over & seal edges well.
Steam for 10-12 minutes.
Alternative: Enclose all pieces of chicken into a large piece of foil. Sprinkle spring onions, ginger & celery. Steam.
Recipe: “Chinese Cooking” – Caroline Ellwood