My daughter and I watch a lot of cooking shows and of course have some favorite chefs that we route for if they are in a cooking competition. I love Jet Tila and hope he kicks ass in the Tournament of Champions. He recently came out with a cookbook and though I haven’t ordered it yet he has been promoting his Thai Cashew Chicken and I wanted to try making it. I picked this particular recipe because I had some bird’s eye chilis, chicken and cashews on hand that I wanted to use up. That is basically how I choose what we have for dinner some nights. What is in the fridge that I need to use before it goes bad.
I wanted to share a (probably not quick) story about my daughter and favorite chefs. She was interning in Washington DC and there was a restaurant in the city where a chef was working that she saw on the show chopped. I went down to visit her and she wanted to go to lunch at this restaurant; just because he was the chef there. We are perusing over the lunch menu and our waiter comes over. I mention the only reason we came in was because she saw the head chef on chopped. He informed us that we actually ordered one of the chefs specialties (which we didn’t know). We are waiting for our order and I notice someone walking towards us. My daughters back was to them and I warned her someone in a chef coat was walking our way. She was so star struck she could barely speak. It was hilarious; thankfully I was there to keep the conversation going. Someday I’ll share with you her encounter with Geoffrey Zakarain on a flight from Japan.
He asked for the onions to be thinly sliced but I am not a fan of eating onions that way so I always diced mine up so small; so they kind of disappear. You do you!
Back to Cashew Chicken I would make it again but lay off of adding too many chili’s. We like a little heat but with my “use before it goes bad” I added about 4 too many bird’s eye chilis for my families palate. I was grateful I didn’t have the chili paste in soybean oil or substitute it with anything. We probably wouldn’t have been able to eat it. Other than that it has nice flavor and came together quickly.
You may think it is a pain to prep all of your ingredients (mise en place) but it really does help not only when you are stir frying but It I have gotten so used to it for writing my blog that I actually still do it and I see my daughter doing it when she is making dinner. Yes there are extra dishes but being able to have everything all measured out and you can just dump and go. Plus you can place it next to the stove in order that it needs to be added. I find it very helpful.
Thai Cashew Chicken
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 cup roasted cashews
- 3-5 bird's eye chili's I used 7 and that was too many for us
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1½ boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1 red pepper thinly sliced
- 1 green pepper thinly sliced
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons Thai black soy sauce or use 2 tbs soy sauce and ½ tsp sugar
- cooked Jasmine rice
Jet Tila recipe differences from how I made mine
- 2 cups canola oil for frying cashews and dried chili's. reserve 2 tablespoons flavored oil for the recipe. discard the rest.
- 8 dried thai chili's
- ¼ cup chili paste in soybean oil I didn't use or substitute for anything
- Heat oil in a large skillet add the garlic, and cook over medium until light brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium high, and add chicken; cook, stirring often, until just seared but not yet cooked through, about 2 minutes
- Add salt and pepper; stir in onions and bell peppers; cook, stirring often, until vegetables are light brown and soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cashews and chilis; stir-fry until heated through, about 1 minute.
- Add oyster sauce and black soy sauce; cook, stirring constantly, until the flavors meld and sauce reduces to a glaze, 1 to 2 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste; serve over hot rice.