For Brig and me, Panda Express is one of our favorite fast-Asian-food guilty pleasures. So freaking delicious, buuut really not very good for you at all. I’m trying to find ways to recreate our favorites from Panda Express and other Asian food places in general (next up: honey walnut shrimp! I could just face plant into that stuff) and cashew chicken was first on my list.
The other night I found myself lacking any sort of desire to make dinner, so I just decided I was going to make a batch of Annie’s White Cheddar Mac & Cheese (no, food bloggers don’t make a dinner dressed to the nines every night 😉 ) when I saw the cashews in our cupboard and the wheels in my head started turning. I looked up a few recipes to see what the basic ingredients and method were, and then got to work creating a little Asian food child of my own. Sorry, that was weird. It was also an opportunity to test out the brown jasmine rice I found at Sprouts (verdict: we LOVE it!) Both Brig & I are so happy with how this dish turned out. The sauce is slightly sour, slightly sweet, slightly spicy – it’s dang delicious. And the chicken! So tender. And all in all, this meal is really pretty good for you! Add some steamed broccoli or snap peas to the mix and you have yourself a really really yummy, nutritious dinner. Also, if you don’t have/can’t get your hands on brown jasmine rice, don’t worry! Regular brown rice or white rice will work just fine.
Also, if you’re Asian-food-crazed like we are, you’ll love this fried rice by How Sweet Eats. One of our favorite dinners, hands down! Really the only adjustments I make to the recipe is adding chicken.
Ugh. Just look at it! So yummy. So tantalizing. Who’s ready for second breakfast??
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
2 T olive oil
1/4 c sweet chili sauce
1 T rice vinegar
1 T low-sodium soy sauce
2 T creamy peanut butter
1 T honey
1/4 t ground ginger
1/2 t minced garlic
1 T chopped chives
1/2 c roasted, lightly salted cashews
1 c brown jasmine rice
2 1/2 c water
In a large saucepan on high heat, bring 2 1/2 c of salted water to a boil. Pour in the brown jasmine rice and turn down the heat to medium. Cover with a lid and let simmer for 45 minutes, or until tender. Leave rice covered until you’re ready to use it. Fluff with a fork right before serving.
In a small bowl, add the sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey, ginger, garlic, and chives and mix until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Rinse off the chicken breasts and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut into small chunks and throw into the bowl with the cornstarch mixture. Toss chicken pieces to coat evenly.
In a large skillet on medium-high heat, pour in the olive oil. Place the chicken pieces in the oil and let cook for 5-6 minutes, or until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, turning the pieces over once to cook evenly on both sides.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, turn the heat down to medium and stir in the sauce and cashews. Let cook until hot and the sauce is slightly thickened, which should only take a few minutes. Take off the heat.
To assemble, make a well of rice on your plate and scoop the cashew chicken into the well. Top with extra chives & a squeeze of fresh lime juice. I recommend serving this dish with steamed broccoli or snap peas! Enjoy!