I am a very predictable diner. While I love to go to new restaurants, when I find something I like at a restaurant, it is difficult for me not to order it every time I go there. I know that if I like one thing on the menu, I am apt to like others (maybe some even better), but I just cannot help associate a specific dish to the restaurant. I will often walk into the restaurant thinking I’ll try something new, but once the menu is in front of me, my mind wanders back to the favorite and I order it once again. I’m a one trick pony.
This pattern is never so true as at the Cheesecake Factory. Now I am a long time diner at the Cheesecake Factory. One of the first ones opened was very close to where I lived in Redondo Beach, California and I first went there over twenty years ago. I cannot recall what I ordered there the first time I went but the second time….Spicy Cashew Chicken.
Over the next twenty-plus years, I must have eaten at various Cheesecake Factory restaurants across the country dozens of times and while I have ordered different appetizers (Buffalo Blasts are awesome) and almost every type of cheesecake, I have never ordered an entrée that wasn’t the Spicy Cashew Chicken. If forced to choose, give me that dish and keep the cheesecake. Luckily I have not had to make that choice.
This recipe rocks! Good flavors and textures.
The ingredient list is rather long, but it really falls into four groups: spiced flour, batter, sauce and everything else.
Making the sauce.
The tenders having been “floured”.
And fried up golden.
This makes a lot of the sauce. Good thing!
It really tasted like the real thing and this will fall into regular rotation for me.
Cheesecake Factory Spicy Cashew Chicken
Prep Time: 30 m | Cook Time: 50 m | Makes: 2-4
- 1 lb Chicken Tenders
- Rice Flour (recipe Follows)
- Rice Flour Batter
- ¼ cup Peanut Oil
- Cashew Sauce
- ½ cup Cashews
- ½ cup Green Onions
- White Rice
- 1 tsp Black & White Sesame Seeds
- 1 Sprig Italian Parsley
- *Rice Flour Batter*
- 1 cup Rice Flour
- ¼ cup All-purpose Flour
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- ½ t. tsp Pepper
- 1 cup Ice Cold Water
- *Seasoned Rice Flour*
- ½ cup Rice Flour
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- ¼ tsp Paprika
- ¼ tsp Baking Powder
- *Spicy-soy-sherry Sauce*
- Yield Approx 4 Cups
- 2 cups Hoisin Sauce
- ½ cup Soy Sauce
- ½ cup Sherry Wine
- ¼ cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 tsp Chili Garlic Paste
- ½ cup Sugar
- 5 cloves Garlic
- ½ tsp Crushed Red Chili Flakes
Place the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sherry wine, red wine vinegar, and chili garlic paste into small mixing bowl and stir to blend. Add sugar, garlic, crushed red chili flakes and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
Place all ingredients for rice flour batter into a clean bowl and mix. Add cold water and stir til combined.
Place all ingredients for seasoned rice flour into clean bowl and mix together.
Using a wok or saute pan over medium heat, add peanut oil and allow to heat. Meantime, place chicken pieces into a small clean mixing bowl and sprinkle rice flour over the chicken. Gently toss together until each piece of chicken is evenly coated with flour. Pour the rice flour batter into the bowl with the chicken and using a small rubber spatula gently fold the ingredients together until each piece of chicken in evenly covered with batter. Add the battered chicken a piece at a time to the wok. Spread out so they are not too close together. Allow to cook until they are golden brown, crispy, and cooked all the way through. Separate the pieces of chicken if necessary while cooking.
Add the spicy hoisin sauce, cashews, into the wok. Stir and toss ingredients until each piece of chicken is evenly coated with sauce. Add the chopped green onions and stir and toss all together until evenly combined and sauce has thickened slightly. Garnish with sprinkle of sesame seeds and chopped parsley. Serve with rice.
*You may need to make a trip to the Asian Market to get ingredients…esp the rice flour. It is much lighter and more authentic with that flour.
March is National Peanut Month
In honor of today’s food holiday, please revisit the following recipes that use or feature this ingredient: (as March 1st was Peanut Butter Day these recipes are those that call for peanuts and may or may not also call for peanut butter)
Chicken Honey Nut Stir Fry, Gingery Peanut Noodles with Chicken, Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies, Peanut Noodles With Edamame, Pork Pad Thai, Thai Shrimp, Thai-Style Veggie Kabobs With Spicy Peanut Sauce, Vietnamese Spring Rolls