One of my fondest memories of living in Thailand would have to be the leisurely afternoons spent at The Royal Phuket Yacht Club. It was a relaxing way to unwind after a morning of doing absolutely nothing except swimming and dodging King Cobras. At the yacht club, my friends and I would sit on the veranda over looking Nai Harn Beach and the Indian Ocean. Besides the view, the main draw for us was the Quarterdeck Restaurant and their Spicy Thai Cashew Chicken. Served over perfectly prepared Jasmine Rice, no place makes it better. As much as I asked, the Chef would never offer me his recipe so based on what I tasted, the following preparation is as close as I can come. Please enjoy it and… มีฤดูร้อนที่ยิ่งใหญ่ -Tpum
This recipe will yield 4 servings.
Mise en place:
- 3 tbsp. Canola or other light oil.
- 1 lb. boneless and skinless chicken breast
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tbsp. Hot Thai Chili paste. (Oriental market)
- 1 red bell pepper (large). remove the seeds and cut into about 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 white onion, cut same size as bell pepper
- 1/4 cup of oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 6 +/- dried birds eye Thai chilies or you can use chilies de arbol if you can’t find birds eye
- 1/2 cup (heaping) dry roasted and unsalted cashews
- 5 scallions cut into 1 inch pieces
- Steamed Jasmine rice. See package for cooking time
- Heavy Wok with Wok ring or a large skillet
Prepare the rice as instructed on the package and set aside. A rice cooker will handle this for you and allow you to focus on the following. Timed right, everything will be ready to serve immediately together.
Ok, this is a pretty simple to make recipe with bold flavors and opposing textures. If you plan to use a wok, it’s a good idea to own a wok ring. This stabilizes the rounded bottom and prevents some of the heat from escaping. Wok cookery is a hot and fast way of cooking meat and vegetables. Into your wok or skillet over medium – hot heat, add one tbsp. of the oil. Immediately add half of the chicken, season it with salt and pepper and stir-fry it until thoroughly cooked. Put it into a bowl and set aside. Repeat this step with the remaining amount of the chicken remembering to add 1 tbsp. of oil. Add this to the bowl of already cooked chicken.
Into the same wok over the same degree of heat, add the remaining Tbsp. of oil. Now add the chili paste. Stir the paste constantly for about a minute and a half to break it up. Add the chicken broth, the bell pepper, onion, oyster sauce and sugar. Stir it well and let simmer for 3-4 minutes. reduce the heat to medium and add the cooked chicken and the juice that has collected in the bottom of the bowl. Continue cooking just until the sauce has slightly thickened and the vegetables have cooked tender. this takes about 4-5 minutes.
The last step is to add the cashews, scallions and the dried chilies. Combine all the ingredients and serve over the rice. The heat intensity will depend on how long you continue to cook after adding the chilies.