This is a dish that my mother made quite often at home while I was growing up. It was spicy (but not too spicy), and this was one of the few dishes that I would make quite often during my university days. It was fast, and it had the acceptable amount of protein and goes well with rice and noodles. I always had a stash of dried chillies at the back of my cupboard, and cashews were a luxury for a struggling student like me, and ginger was hard to find, so sometimes I will just make do with the chicken, chillies, peppers and oyster sauce. The green peppers act as a filler to make the dish ‘healthier’ (green veggies, y’all!), and I like adding them to the dish even now. It is optional, and in this variation I used some sweet non-spicy green chillies that I found at Farmer’s in Ambelokipoi.
The amount of dried chillies depends on how spicy you want it to be. I have an asbestos tongue (my blood is made of hot sauce), so you can reduce or increase depending on the spiciness of the dried chillies. You should soak the dried red chillies for a bit, and you can remove the seeds from the chillies to cut the spicy heat.
The oyster sauce can be quite salty, and if you can find a low sodium version of the dark soy sauce or the oyster sauce, that will be a grand idea. Season as you want – if you think it isn’t salty enough for you, add more soya sauce.
As I said, this dish goes really well with rice (I eat mine the plain Asian way) or even noodles. You can toss some boiled/prepared egg noodles into the wok in the end, and toss to coat the noodles with the sauce. Hey presto, noodles with spicy cashew chicken stir-fry!
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 small red onion, sliced thin
- 1 small garlic clove, sliced into thin slivers
- a large handful of cashew nuts (preferably cashews that haven’t been roasted and coated with salt)
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced into 3
- 4-6 pieces of finger-sized dried red chillies, cut into half (de-seeded if you want it to be less spicy)
- 1 tsp of oyster sauce
- 1 tsp of dark soya sauce (low-sodium if available)
- 2 chicken breasts, cut into thin and bite-size pieces
- 1 large green pepper (optional: or I used 4-6 pieces of sweet non-spicy green chillies as a substitute)
- Heat the oil in a wok, on medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, gently fry the dried chillies and the cashew nuts until the cashews are brown.
- Remove the chillies and the cashews. Set aside. The oil is now infused with the flavours of the chillies and cashews. Yum!
- In the infused oil, cook the chicken.
- When it has started to colour, add the onions, ginger and garlic.
- Cook for a few more minutes, and then add the green peppers or non-spicy chillies, if using.
- Stir for a minute, and then add the soya sauce and the oyster sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of water and watch it sizzle!
- Finally, return the chillies and cashews to the wok, and stir to coat everything in the sauce.
- Serve immediately with a bowl of rice.