Some dishes reach legendary status in your mind. Often those dishes are ones that you’ve had at a restaurant and if the memory is from a single tasting, it very well could be influenced by the environment, your dining buddies, or some other factor. Those dishes that you have a dozen times, or more, and still have that legendary status are the real deal. While they may still be influenced by other items (“this was grandma’s best recipe” or “we always have family celebrations here and this is what I order”), they are more likely to be great on their own.
One of the legendary dishes in my mind is the Cashew Chicken from the now defunct Schezuan restaurant (originally in Torrance, CA and later to Manhattan Beach, CA). This dish was truly mana from heaven. It was pretty straight forward with small cubes of chicken, diced water chestnuts and cashews. There may have been other items in it (it has been a decade since I’ve had it), but it was the sauce that made it great. I have tried dozens of cashew chicken recipes and dishes at Chinese restaurants in hope of finding something close, but to no avail. I wish I could track down the owners and get the recipe off of them. My quest continues….
This is nothing like that dish but a very easy a tasty one of its own right.
I used chicken tenders to avoid the pounding thin and slicing.
My typical breading station.
I breaded a bit early to avoid having to do it with the pan hot.
In the pan. You have to watch closely to keep the butter from burning and passing that burnt taste on to the coating.
The combination of chicken and cashew is perfect together. The crunch on the outside and soft chicken inside is a great pairing.
Cashew Crusted Chicken
- 2/3 cup raw cashew pieces
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
First, put the cashew pieces in a food processor or blender and grind them to a fine texture. Dump them out onto a plate and add the salt, pepper and paprika, mixing the whole thing well. Set aside.
Pound the chicken breasts until they are ½ inch thick all over. Cut into 4 servings if neccessary.
Break the egg white into another plate with a rim around it. Dip each chicken breast piece into the egg, then into the cashew mixture, coating both sides.
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat, and add the chicken. Saute until it’s golden on both sides and cooked through, about 5 min per side.