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CASHEW CHICKEN COOKS COUNTRY

Cashew Chicken
12/2008

Toast the cashews on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Presliced water chestnuts can be waterlogged; for the crunchiest texture, use canned whole water chestnuts and slice them yourself. It is imperative to use low-sodium chicken broth in this recipe.

Serves 4 to 6

Marinade and Sauce
1/2 cup mirin
6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons cornstarch
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (see note)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Stir-Fry
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces snow peas , stems snapped off and strings removed, halved crosswise
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves , minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts , drained and sliced thin (see note)
1 cup toasted cashews (see note); half roughly chopped, half left whole

1. For the marinade and sauce: Whisk 3 tablespoons mirin, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

2. Whisk broth, Worcestershire, remaining mirin, remaining soy sauce, remaining sesame oil, and remaining cornstarch in separate bowl; set aside.

3. For the stir-fry: Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of chicken, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate and tent with foil; repeat with additional 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and remaining chicken.

4. Add remaining vegetable oil to empty skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook snow peas until bright green, about 1 minute. Add ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes to pan and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in water chestnuts and reserved broth mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Return chicken, along with any accumulated juices, to skillet and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in cashews. Serve.

STEP BY STEP: Velveting 101

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