Mixed Vegetables with Cashew Nuts

Friday, February 10, 2017

I have been encountering folks who have been cooking off my blog. With the released cookbook, users of my Mum's recipes seem to have risen considerably.

I am both amazed and grateful. Already, serving as a pastor since I graduated from Uni, I am grateful that I am of some spiritual use. I never expected to be of some earthly use, given that I have never had  a career apart from pastoring and preaching. The opportunity to connect with new acquaintances is also precious, especially those outside of the church community.

I want to introduce in this post an "old school" recipe which my Mum cooked regularly.  This is one of the classic comfort foods that has stood the test of time. She often cooked this attractive, colourful dish for parties, accompanying the likes of curry chicken, Hakka Deep Fried Pork and rice. I have memories of eating it when I was a child. It is the kind of recipe which you are likely to find in one of Tham Yui Khai cookbooks (see the link here about his cookbooks).

It is also often served as the filling for the traditional fried Yam Ring dish, with steamed yam (taro added of course) It is somewhat similar to the Italian ratatouille. You can omit the chicken and go vegetarian. Once you have prepared the ingredients, the cooking is fast and easy. For this dish, texture is important. So don’t overcook the dish.

As always, the quantities in this recipe are just a guide. Feel free to vary.

Serves 4

300 g (10.5 oz) chicken meat
200 g (7 oz) fresh cashew nuts
8 baby sweet corn
1 green pepper (capsicum)
1 red pepper
2 medium red onions
2 tbsps cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, minced.
4 dried chillies
2 tsps cornflour made into a slurry with 2 tbsps water

1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Chinese wine

Slice the chicken meat into 1-cm (0.4-in) cubes and marinate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the baby sweet corn into three pieces each. Also slice the peppers and red onions into bite-sized pieces. Rehydrate the chillies and slice them into 1 cm rings.

In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the dried chillies till they are lightly browned. Remove.

Add another tablespoon of oil and fry the cashew nuts until they change to golden brown color. Note that some oil is necessary when cooking nuts in a wok or they will burn. Remove and set the nuts aside.

Using some of the leftover oil, fry the minced garlic. Then add the vegetables and the marinade sauces and stir fry for 3 minutes. Then add the chicken meat and dried chillies along and stir fry for another 3 minutes. Then add the Chinese rice wine and the cornflour slurry. Fry for a further 1 minute and the dish should be done.

This dish can be eaten atnroom temperature. Garnish with the cashew nuts before you serve it.

I should add that there is an old school restaurant technique used for this dish where oil is used to stir-fry every item. It is called "lai yau" (pull with oil) in Cantonese. I am not recommending this technique here as some may view it as unhealthy. But it is a good technique to use.

Also if you are making a huge batch for parties, it makes sense to cook the items separately first to ensure that the texture stays crunchy and that each item is cooked "just right."

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  1. This is a lovely post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts esp in paragraph 2. Love the new look on your blog. Stunning pictures, an art in itself.

    I will endeavour to go through slowly the recipes you have published. It is an epic collection!