Cashew Chicken from Cheesecake Factory has long been a favorite of Big’s. She has often asked me to make it at home, but I have never been willing to try it. I always thought that this should be a dinner we dinned out on. I hope I am not the only one to feel this way.
The year 1999 brought many changes for my family. We went from a two income family living happily in New Mexico to a one income family living in Florida. Big had recently accepted a promotion and it meant moving to another state. Her promotion also meant that I would no longer be working outside of the home. At this time, I also began to homeschool my daughter. Needless to say, money was tight.
Our first Christmas in Florida took us to a close by mall. Shopping made us hungry and we stopped at one of the first restaurants we saw. It was Cheesecake Factory. I was drawn in by visions of cheesecake in my head. I think my daughter had the same idea. Big, on the other hand, was looking for something more substantial. Trust me, she found it in Cashew Chicken.
Once Big tasted the cashew chicken, she was hooked. Cheesecake Factory became the new favorite restaurant in the Miami area. I, on the other hand was ready for fresh seafood. That is another story all together! A few years later we visited the Annapolis, Maryland area and we were able to go to Cheesecake Factory again. Guess what Big had? You are right – Cashew Chicken.
We have moved 5 times since we lived in Miami and have not always been close to a Cheesecake Factory restaurant. We now live in the D.C. area and are not to far from her beloved cashew chicken. I am a frugal person and finally decided to make this recipe at home. I am happy to report that Big said it was better than what she had had at the restaurant. I am happy to say that it cost so much less.
The recipe calls for chicken breast. I used chicken thighs. Thighs are so much less expensive and are full of flavor. I also love that you don’t have to worry about them drying out so much.
Freeze your leftovers, if you have any, and make another meal. I am so happy when I get to cook once and create more than one meal. Aren’t you?
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, but in to chunks (can use breast)
- Seasoned rice flour (see below)
- Rice flour batter (see below)
- Spicy Soy Sauce (see below)
- 8 ounces cashews, chopped or crushed
- 6 green onions, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
- Cooked rice
- Seasoned Rice Flour
- 3/4 cup rice flour
- 1/4 tsp Kosher slat
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 18/ tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- Rice Flour Batter
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups of ice water (you want the consistency of a slurry)
- Spicy Soy Sauce
- 1 cup Hosin Sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 ounces fresh garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- Spicy Soy Sauce
- Place the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and sriracha into small mixing bowl and stir to blend. Add sugar, garlic, crushed red chili flakes and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Seasoned Rice Flour
- Place all ingredients for seasoned rice flour into clean bowl and mix together. Place chicken in the blow and toss until well coated. Set aside.
- Rice Flour Batter
- Place all ingredients for rice flour batter into a clean bowl and mix. Add cold water and stir til combined. Keep cold.
- Using a wok or saute pan over medium heat, add oil and allow to heat.
- Pour the rice flour batter into the bowl with the chicken and using a small rubber spatula gently fold the ingredients together until each piece of chicken in evenly covered with batter. Add the battered chicken a piece at a time to the frying pan. Make sure you leave room in the pan for the chicken to cook evenly. Cook until they are brown, crispy, and cooked all the way through. Separate the pieces of chicken if necessary. I had to cook my chicken in batches.
- If there is extra oil after cooking, remove the chicken and get rid of the oil.
- Add the spicy soy sauce mixture, 3/4 of the cashews, and 3/4 of the green onions into the pan. Stir and toss ingredients until each piece of chicken is evenly coated with sauce.
- Serve over white rice - top with the rest of the cashews, green onions and all of the sesame seeds.
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