This post is very near to my heart. My father cooked dinner pretty often in our family, and he had taken a Chinese cooking class earlier in his life, so we often had 2 dishes that hung around from that class - beef and snow peas, and chicken and cashews. Chicken and cashews became one of my absolute favorite favorite dishes, and what I would always request for my birthday meal. My brother came to always request it too. My dad passed away before I became vegan, but we've continued the tradition of having this dish for my brother's birthday, using my dad's recipe, so for the past few years I've been trying to figure out how on earth to veganize it successfully.
An important lesson for today - don't be afraid to experiment, and don't be afraid to try again if the first 1, 2, or 3 times don't really quite work out. If you want to make something, if you keep trying, you will eventually be able to figure it out. :) As I did with this! I cannot put into words how absolutely excited I was to finally successfully recreate chicken and cashews. I could not stop talking about it the entire night; I'm sure I drove my family crazy. Every other sentence out of my mouth was something along the lines of "Oh my gosh this is good! I'm so excited! It finally worked! So happy!" :) I would even venture to say it's actually better than the original. Somehow it's just bolder, more flavorful, richer.
The secret ingredient - seitan. Tried it with tofu - failure. But seitan... seitan worked amazingly. If you've never had it, or heard of it, I liked this page for an explanation of what it is, and its history. It basically is a meat made from the protein portion of wheat, and has been traditionally used in Asian cooking for a long time. This was one of my first forays into using it, and it was an absolute success.
I added some broccoli to get myself some extra nutrients - and because it's tasty. :)
Chik'n and Cashews
1 package unflavored seitan
1 T hoisin sauce
2 T light soy sauce
2 tsp sherry
2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 T peanut oil
2/3 C cashews
salt to taste
1. Mix seitan with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, and pepper.
2. Using only the white part, cut scallion into 1/4 inch pieces.
3. Heat peanut oil in wok (if you have one, otherwise any saute pan will do).
4. Stirfry scallion until slightly brown.
5. Add seitan and sauce mixture, stirfry constantly over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
6. Add cashews, mix well.
7. Add salt to taste.
Serve hot over rice.
Share with your loved ones and give them a hug for me. :)