So you know when you walk by those Nuts 4 Nuts carts in Manhattan and they smell so amazingly good that you finally cave in and buy them, only to realized that you wasted two dollars on something that smells 1000 times better than it tastes? Why do they not taste like they smell? I decided to take matters into my own hands. These subtly spiced candied cashews made my apartment smell amazing and they made my taste buds happy. Take that, nuts that you buy from a cart on the street (when you put it that way, I’m not so surprised…)!
I had all of these leftover cashews from when I made cashew chicken. I also wanted something to munch on. These candied cashews come together so quickly and easily (maybe 15 minutes), as long as you have cashews around, you’re good to go. Or else try them with other nuts. They’re very similar to the peanuts that Jessica made, but I played around with the spices and the sugars.
- 2 cups raw unsalted cashews
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the spices together.
- In a large skillet over high heat, mix the nuts, sugar and water. Stir frequently and bring to a boil. Continue stirring; the liquid should evaporate and turn into a syrupy consistency. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle the spices over the nuts and stir vigorously, letting the water completely evaporate, for about 4 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and continue stirring until the nuts are coated in the crystallized sugar.
- Carefully pour the nuts out onto the baking sheet to let cool.
For some reason I was really craving Chinese food. So I found this recipe, printed it out and hung it up on my fridge. I went to Trader Joe’s and I bought a bag of cashews. I found kosher hoisin sauce. I defrosted some chicken cutlets that had been hanging out in my freezer. And now dinner for the next night was planned and prepared, so I went out for dinner with some friends. When I came home, I discovered that David cooked the chicken for dinner tomorrow! And we didn’t have any more cutlets, but we had plenty of chicken! So I didn’t want to shop for more chicken. So I gave up, the rest of the ingredients all sat unused and unloved in the kitchen and the recipe stuck to my fridge. Until one day I decided to buy chicken cutlets again and make cashew chicken for dinner!
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did. Make this chicken! It comes together really quickly, it’s healthy (add more veggies when cooking to make it even healthier!) and the leftovers make a great lunch.
Next time I have a craving for something new, I think I’ll try sweet and sour chicken.
Cashew Chicken slightly adapted from Thyme for Wine
- 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1” cubes
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 ancho peppers, cut into 1” pieces
- 5 leeks, cut into 1” pieces (I only had leeks, so I used those instead of scallions, which would make more sense)
- 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup toasted cashews (4 oz)
- Toss the chicken in the cornstarch in a medium bowl until coated. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large cast iron skillet, heat half the oil over medium-high heat. Cook half the chicken, tossing for about 3 minutes until browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Add remaining oil and chicken to the skillet, along with the garlic, green pepper, and leeks. Cook, tossing for another 3 minutes until chicken browns.
- Return first batch of chicken to the pan. Add vinegar; cook for about 3o seconds until evaporated. Add hoisin sauce water; cook another minute tossing until chicken is cooked through.
- Remove from heat and stir cashews.
- Serve immediately over rice.