Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CASHEW CHICKEN


Okay, I'm gonna share with you a Springfield, Mo original. David Leong created this dish in 1963 in Springfield. He was the chef at a local supper club and he wanted to come up with a dish that would appeal to the locals. Since fried chicken is a staple in these parts, he used it as the base of his now famous dish. It became so popular that he was able to open his own restaurant, Leong's Tea House. His brother later opened Gee's East Wind and David's Cashew Chicken was featured there too. David's son now prepares the dish at a new restaurant in Springfield. David has passed on but his famous Cashew Chicken lives on.

Now I have checked in other states when on vacation and I have not found it prepared like this anywhere else. A few years back, when we were vacationin' in Florida, my son was home sick and he needed, I stress needed, a fix of cashew chicken. I went to a Chinese food drive thru and ordered their style of the chicken dish, not realizin' that it was goin' to be nothin' like what we were use to. When I got back to the room with every ones order, let me tell you, there were very disappointed kids and hubby. It was prepared like a stir fry and there was a lot of leftovers.

Cashew Chicken in these here parts is a top favorite. It doesn't matter if you go out to eat it or go through one of the many drive-thru's it is immensely popular. It is right up there with pizza and hamburgers as a favorite of kids and adults alike. When we want to just go and pick up somethin' or have CD bring it home for supper, the choices are usually , hamburgers, pizza or cashew chicken. That's what it is like here in the Ozarks.


Now this is an easy dish to prepare but there are a few steps to it. I'm gonna start out with my fried rice recipe. We like fried rice with our chicken but you can use just plain cooked rice.

Fried Rice

4 cups cooked brown rice
It is best if you have cooked your rice and let it cool in refrigerator until ready to fry. It isn't soggy when prepared this way.

4-6 slices of bacon cut in pieces

2 eggs

green onions, chopped on the horizontal, about 1 cup

1/8 to 1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon sesame oil ( optional, but very good when added)

canola oil



Put your bacon pieces in a skillet and brown over med-high heat. Dip out browned bacon pieces leavin' grease in skillet. Set bacon aside. Add about 1 teaspoon canola oil to skillet with bacon grease and pour grease/oil into a cup, set aside.

Stir your eggs, well, in a bowl.

Pour the eggs into hot skillet that bacon was fried in with about 1 teaspoon of canola oil.



Cook and stir eggs breaking up till cooked, over med-high heat. Pour bacon/canola grease back in pan with eggs.


Put about 1/4 cup of the chopped green onion into the skillet.



Add your cooked brown rice to skillet.


Add your soy sauce startin' with 1/8 cup. You'll add more to taste. It's kinda personal taste here.


Add fried bacon pieces and sesame oil and mix all ingredients well over low heat. Continue fryin' and stirrin' occasionally till hot. You can add a little more canola oil if needed, just not too much, you don't want it to be greasy.
Taste and add more soy sauce if needed.



Cover rice and keep heat very low or turn off, heatin' back up before servin'.

Now we'll make the sauce.

Oyster Sauce:

2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with a little cold water
I usually use canned broth or boullion cubes dissolved in water.


Measure out your corn starch in a small bowl and add cold water and stir 'til dissolved.


You can find oyster sauce in the oriental section in most grocery stores.


Add your oyster sauce, corn starch mixture, sugar and soy sauce to your broth.


Stir well to get it all mixed over med-high heat.


Keep stirrin' constantly and you will notice the broth thickenin' and slowly startin' to turn color.


And here you have it........oyster sauce.

Now please, if you taste don't think, what???? What's so great about this sauce? Let me tell ya it may not be anythin' special by itself, but put it on that fried chicken and you are gonna be hooked.

Now for the chicken

1 - 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 pound fixes enough for 2 people, 2 pounds for leftovers or 3 pounds like I make so there is enough for more than one meal plus snacks!
2 cups flour
salt and pepper, for seasoning flour
oil for fryin'
small bowl of water for dippin'
1-2 cups salted cashew pieces, browned lightly in skillet with small amount of canola oil.

Chunk up your chicken into large bite size pieces. Do not cut in uniform pieces. Chicken pieces need to be irregular to be authentic.


Dredge chicken pieces into seasoned flour and then dip pieces of floured chicken into a bowl of water and then back into seasoned flour.


This second dredgin' is absolutely necessary for crispy fried chicken.

Put floured pieces into hot oil in deep pan or deep fryer and fry for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Place on paper towel lined plate to drain.

To assemble:

Place fried rice on plate, place fried chicken pieces on rice. Dip about 1/8 or more cup of oyster sauce over top of chicken and rice and top with green onion and cashews sprinkled over.

Or you can do like I do and place it all separate on your plate. Add an eggroll and you have Springfield, Missouri Cashew Chicken.

This is a great New Year's Eve Supper. I hope you try it and please let me know how you like it.
Rebel

6 comments:

My New 30 said...

Oh goody goody! I've been waitin' for some of your local recipes!!!! Can't wait to try this one - that oyster sauce looks scrumptious. Bet that's great in a regular stir fry too.

Darlene said...

Hi Rebel,

That really looks delicious! I could have just eaten all your fried rice by itself.

I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year's Eve. I am so glad I "met" you through blogging and look forward to blogging with you in 2009!

Jodi said...

This looks yummy! We like eating Chinese food! I was surprised to see oyster sauce at WalMart the other day. I don't think I'd ever seen it there. A lot of times I do my grocery shopping there so I can get two things done at once! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

tardevil said...

Dang, that looks so good!

PamperingBeki said...

Oh YUMMMM!!!! I'm from Springfield, but live in Kansas now. I can't find Springield style cashew chicken for the life of me here. :( And I get a craving for it every week or two.

PamperingBeki said...

Oh and I should add, that a SGF friend of mine was on vacation in New York City and she saw "Springfield Cashew Chicken" on the menu at a restaurant. She asked about it and they said that it is indeed from Springfield, MO and they had so many requests for it that they added it to their menu! She was THRILLED!