Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Monday, 7 January 2013

Kinda healthy. Well, healthier than usual. Chicken and Cashew Nuts

...although I think it's fair to say that nuts, whilst high in fat, do offer more nutritional value than, say, lard, so perhaps I was right with my first assumption.
Ah yes, January. The month of good intentions. Unfortunately I still have a fridge full of cream, cheese and eggs, which I will have to use up before any good intentions that I may have regarding what we eat begin to take shape, so just to be contrary, expect a few deeply unhealthy but frankly glorious recipes to come to a blog near you sometime soon. By mid January, the fridge will be reasonably empty of food likely to lead me astray, and I'll be cooking meals more akin to what I have decided to blog about today.
I have returned to work today after two and a half weeks of late nights, late mornings and a general sense of happiness and well being. Then, the new year arrives and you realise that the lottery numbers haven't come up and you are back working for a living. Because I am, frankly, useless and not able to compete with those supermums who have it all done and dusted and get their children in bed by seven, I find myself crashing through the door about 4.30pm with two hungry kids, an armful of marking, book bags, lunch boxes and other assorted school paraphernalia and a cold realisation that you have to put a meal on the table as well as do all the other 'mum' stuff. If you can get yourself together, this meal is quick and it's like take away without the take away. Bask in your all round virtuousness!
I do try to get Lola and Finn to eat a variety of foods, and Chinese food is something that they feel more confident about eating. Lola was enthusiastic about it and Finn, being Finn, picked his way through it, leaving an assortment of nuts and cucumber. However, it wasn't a total refusal and this can only really be seen as a bonus. I do find it really strange though how a child who has been brought up with a variety of food experiences can be so sniffy when it comes to food.
So, in trying to be a good mum, we have...
Chicken and Cashew Nuts, adapted from Simple Chinese Cooking by Kylie Kwong
Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad plus 2
For the marinade:
2 tablespoons shao hsing wine or dry sherry (I used dry sherry)
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon sea salt
For the chicken:
1 pound 10 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch slices
1 medium cucumber (unpeeled)
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 cup (about 5 ounces) roasted unsalted cashews (I didn't have enough so added some peanuts instead)
6 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons shao hsing wine or dry sherry (I used dry sherry)
1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt (in my opinion, 1 teaspoon is enough!)
3/4 cup finely sliced (crosswise) spring onions, white and tender green parts, for garnish
Combine the marinade ingredients with the chicken in a resealable plastic food storage bag. Seal and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day, or put in a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate.
Collect together and prepare all the ingredients you need before you start to cook as the cooking process is very quick.
When ready to cook, cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place the cucumber cut side down on a cutting board; trim off the ends and discard. Slice the remaining cucumber thinly on the diagonal and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a hot wok or large non stick frying pan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add half of the marinated chicken and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the wok, then add the nuts and garlic. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, stirring constantly, making sure the garlic does not burn. Very important. Be vigilant.
Return all the chicken to the wok and increase the heat to high. Add the wine or sherry and stir-fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add the salt and stir-fry for about 1 minute, until the chicken is lightly browned and just cooked through. Add the cucumber and stir-fry for 10 seconds.
Divide the chicken and sauce among individual plates and sprinkle scallions over the top. Serve immediately. I served mine with some medium egg noodles.


  1. looks absolutely delicious!

  2. I love Kylie Kwong! This looks like a nice recipe Stella! I actually have everything needed to do this one! This week for sure!
    L xo


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