David Leong, a Chinese chef in Springfield, Missouri, began making his deep-fried version of Cashew Chicken back in the 30s at his restaurant, the Grove Supper Club. It is a simple dish that is still being prepared the same way by his son at another family-owned restaurant. No frills, vegetables or condiments, just deep-fried chicken with a sauce (somewhat like mine below) covering every crispy morsel. Many Cashew Chicken recipes do have many vegetables and rightfully so, but making this dish simply and with fewer ingredients is just as tasty. So David’s recipe truly inspired my rendition of the Grove Supper Club’s famous dish.
Simple, Unadorned Cashew Chicken
Makes 4 servings
3 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
1 pound chicken breasts, cut 1-inch cubes
1 cup water
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster or hoisin sauce
1/4 small onion, minced
1 cup unsalted cashews, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
4 cups cooked rice, kept warm
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot and shimmering, stir-fry half the chicken cubes until done, 3-5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cook remaining chicken, also setting aside.
In a bowl, whisk together water, cornstarch, soy and oyster sauce until the cornstarch is mixed thoroughly. Heat remaining oil in same skillet over high heat and add onions, 3/4 cup of the cashews and garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add the chicken and cornstarch mixture along with the ginger and continue stir-frying until liquid boils and thickens, about another minute. Divide rice among four serving plates and evenly dish out the chicken, sauce and remainder of cashews over the rice.