Cashew chicken is a meal that has its origins in China, where it has been a popular dish served for many generations. It eventually made its way over to the United States, where it has undergone a transformation of sorts. There are now many ways to prepare this particular dish that did not exist back in its homeland. Originally, cashew chicken was served with oyster sauce, soy sauce or chicken stock to add the zesty flavor that has made this dish such a memorable favorite. As time has gone by, other sauces have been introduced to Americanize the cashew chicken, while not straying too far from its original Chinese roots.
When cashew chicken started to be widely eaten in China, it was originally prepared in a wok by stir-frying. The pieces of chicken eventually become more tender, then they are combined with veggies and some delicious cashews that have been roasted. When the dish came to America, the first place it became popular was Springfield, Missouri. The introduction of cashew chicken to the United States can be traced to a Chinese chef named David Leong, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1940. The first time he served the dish was in 1963. At that time, Leong was employed at Springfield's Grove Supper Club. His idea for the dish came out of the fact that many of the native Chinese dishes he served were not readily accepted by Americans. Therefore, he sought to make a healthy chicken recipe that was more in line with the common tastes of most Americans.
Cashew Chicken Recipe
1/4 cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted cashews
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
4 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1/2 cup chopped green onions (about 3 green onions)
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1. Combine the chicken, two teaspoons of cornstarch, sherry and one tablespoon of soy sauce in a bowl. Combine the honey, broth, the remaining two tablespoons of soy sauce, oyster sauce and the two remaining teaspoons of cornstarch in a bowl.
2. After placing one teaspoon of oil in a nonstick skillet, put it on medium heat for one minute. Put the chicken in a pan and sauté for three minutes. Take it out of the pan. Place bell pepper, celery and onion into the pan and sauté for two minutes. You can now heat your one remaining teaspoon of oil in the pan. Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for one minute. Place the chicken back in the pan and sauté for one minute. Pour in the broth and allow it to boil for one minute, stirring continuously. Your chicken is now ready to serve. Sprinkle the cashews and green onions on top for the finishing touch.