Most recipes for cashew chicken dish out syrupy sauces and tough chicken-and sorely lack cashew flavor and crunch.
Why This Recipe Works
To remedy dry and flavorless chicken, we marinated the breasts in a little soy sauce for our Cashew Chicken recipe. The salt in the soy penetrated the meat much like a brine, promoting juiciness and deep seasoning. We also turned to a technique called velveting, in which we tossed raw chicken with cornstarch and oil. This formed a thin coating around the chicken and protected it from heat. For the sauce, we selected soy sauce cut with chicken broth to mitigate its saltiness. We replaced the rice wine vinegar and sugar with mirin, a sweet rice wine. Instead of hard-to-find Chinese black vinegar, we turned to Worcestershire sauce to give the sauce complex richness. We doubled the amount of cashews that other recipes called for and toasted them to intensify their flavor and crunch.