Friday, February 3, 2012

Cashew Chicken with Broccoli & Mushrooms

I've learned a lot during my four years in Buffalo.
- Never expect a snow day.  Expect snow.  Every day from December through March, maybe even April or May.  But don't expect a snow day.
- Wind is evil.  And everywhere.
- Taking food photos in the winter when you can't afford studio lighting gets...complicated.
- "Buffalo wings" = wrong.  "Wings" = right.
- Tim Hortons' Roll Up the Rim month will make you spend waaaay more money than you mean to spend.  But hey, you could win a car!!  Or a free donut.
- If you live in the Buffalo area, you're a Bills and Sabres fan.  Even if you hate either football or hockey.
- Paula's Donuts are heaven.  HEAVEN, I tell you.

And this one I find particularly important to anyone who grew up in DC or NY:

- Thai food in Buffalo is brilliant.
Japanese food in Buffalo is awesome.
Chinese food in Buffalo SUCKS.  With a capital SUCKS.

I love Chinese food.  But I have not even tasted a single truly good batch of Chicken Fried Rice since I got to UB - the flavors are off and all you get is egg, bamboo shoots, a few chunks of chicken, and HUGE pieces of virtually raw onion.  I'm sorry, but if the Chinese place you're ordering from also delivers pizza and wings...don't order from them.  I beg you.  Save yourself.

If I ever get a craving for Asian flavors, I stick with Thai, hibachi, or I just make my own mock Chinese food.   I always have a bottle of low-sodium soy sauce in the fridge for those nights when dangit, nothing but stir fry will cut it!

And this recipe has officially cut the line to the top of my list of favorite weeknight recipes.

Not just Asian-style weeknight recipes.  Weeknight recipes, period.

It's that good.

The combination of flavors and textures is just such a win.  Don't bother letting me explain in detail - make it for yourself the next time you want takeout!  It'll be ready just as fast, and your wallet and tummy will thank you :)

Cashew Chicken with Broccoli and Mushrooms
Source: adapted slightly from Cheeky Kitchen
Serves at least 4

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp garlic powder, or to taste
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, or to taste
4-6 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/3-1/2 cup water (use less for a thicker sauce, more for a thinner sauce)
2-3 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
1/2 cup salted cashews
Rice or noodles, for serving

In a wok or large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Toss in the chicken pieces and stir fry until cooked through.  Add the mushrooms and allow to cook briefly.  Sprinkle the mixture with the garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and desired amount of soy sauce.  Whisk together the water and cornstarch in a measuring cup and pour over the chicken and mushrooms, stirring to coat.  Add the broccoli florets, cover the pan, and allow to cook until the broccoli is bright green.  Toss in the cashews and serve over rice or noodles.  Enjoy!


  1. Looks beautiful, we particularly love the edition of mushrooms (naturally)

  2. Are you from DC? That's where I went to college. American University, baby. Once an eagle, always an eagle!

  3. Kelsey - yep, born and raised in the DC Metro area!