Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sweet and Hot Chicken-less Cashew Stir-Fry


I feel like I have little inspiration in cooking lately. I'm not really using the creative side of the brain at work lately, and maybe that's the root of it. As a designer, when work starts to feel like WORK, I tend to feel really crappy all around. I'm supposed to be having fun for a living. But rarely can that be so.

With little creative inspiration, I set out to use something from the fake meat shelf for dinner. I was inclined toward seitan fingers and fries, but we're trying to eat healthy. Fake Chinese take-out would have to do. I strayed from the bland recipe and added a little honey and some Indian red chili powder (Lal Mirch) my mother-in-law gave me. I think it's just a bit more potent and interesting tasting than cayenne. I must have been inspired by the fact we would be eating the stir-fry over leftover Basmati rice from a Makhanwala variation I made on Tuesday. This actually came out really good (and just mildly spicy) - we both went back for seconds and ended up overeating a little. I might be a bit more generous with both the chili and honey in the future.

Sweet and Hot Chicken-less Cashew Stir-Fry
(approx. 4 servings)

1T Vegetable Oil 
3/4 C Onions, cut into strips
1 Clove Garlic, sliced thin
1 Large Carrot, chopped (2/3C)
2 Large ribs of Celery, chopped (1C)
1/8 tsp ground Ginger
2-3 grinds Black Pepper
1/2 tsp ground Indian Red Chili (Lal Mirch) or use Cayenne
1-1/2 C Vegetable Stock
1T + 1/2 tsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce (such as Kikkoman)
1 tsp Cornstarch
1 tsp Honey
1 package Chicken-less Strips (Trader Joe's)
1 C raw Cashews
Salt to taste (optional)
Cooked rice (such as Basmati)

1. Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat and add onions. Sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.

2. Add carrots and celery and cook another 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with ginger, pepper and chili and stir to coat.

3. Prepare sauce by mixing together stock, soy sauce and cornstarch. Add to the pan, stirring, and then add honey. 

4. Add chicken-less strips to the pan and cook through, about 3 minutes. Add cashews for another 2 minutes.

5. Serve over warm rice and garnish with the greens of the carrot tops, or parsley.

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