Chili Chicken With Cashews

1 1/2 pounds boned chicken breast, skin removed

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 1/2 tablespoons canola or corn oil

1 1/2 tablespoons minced scallions, white part only
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon hot chile paste or dried chile flakes (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced canned water chestnuts,
blanched for 10 seconds, then refreshed in cold water and drained

Sauce (mixed together)
3/4 cup classic chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups dry-roasted cashews

  1. Trim the chicken of any fat or gristle. Cut it into 1/2-inch cubes and place in a bowl. Add the premixed Marinade ingredients, and toss the chicken cubes to coat them. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat a large wok or large skillet, add 2 1/2 tablespoons of the oil, heat until very hot, and add the chicken. Cook over high heat until the chicken cubes become opaque and are cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Wipe out the pan.
  3. Reheat the pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, heat, and add the Seasonings. Stir-fry briefly, about 15 seconds, then add the water chestnuts, and stir-fry over high heat for about 1 1/2 minutes to heat them through. Add the premixed Sauce, and cook, stirring continuously to prevent lumps, until thickened. Return the cooked chicken and add the cashews. Toss lightly to coat and heat through. Scoop everything onto a platter. Serve with a vegetable and steamed rice.

© Copyright Nina Simonds Spices of Life 2008

Chili Oil Dressing

Making A Flavored Dressing

3 to 4 small, dried red Thai chilies (if dried, reconstitute in hot water for 15 minutes.) or ½ teaspoon crushed, dried chili flakes
4 cloves garlic, skins removed and minced
¼ cup virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
½ cup clear rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce

  1. To prepare the Chile Dressing, trim the ends and stems from the chilies, remove the seeds, and coarsely chop by hand.
  2. Mix together the olive oil and the toasted sesame oil in a saucepan and heat until very hot, about 400 degrees. Carefully add in the hot chilies, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Uncover and drop in the minced garlic, cover and let sit until warm. Pour in the rice vinegar, soy sauce, stir, and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary.

© Copyright Nina Simonds Spices of Life 2008

Chili Peppers (Quick Bites)

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Cinnamon Curry Rice

From Spoonful of Ginger

Makes six servings. Other vegetables and cubed meats may be added as garnishes.

4 sticks cinnamon
3 3/4 cups water
2 cups long-grain rice
2 1/2 teaspoons safflower or corn oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons good-quality curry powder
3 to 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 to 4 turnips, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 1/12 cups)
3 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups cooked peas (if using frozen, thaw to room temperature)

Sauce (mixed together):
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Put the cinnamon sticks and the water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Cook about 5 minutes over medium heat. Under cold running water, rinse the rice in a saucepan until the water runs clear. Drain and add the rice to the cinnamon water. Bring the water to a boil again, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Simmer covered for 17 minutes, or until craters appear in the surface of the rice and the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and fluff the cooked grains with a fork. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes, then uncover and spread the rice out on a cookie sheet with a fork to cool completely. Discard the cinnamon sticks. (The rice should be cold or at least room-temperature before stir-frying.)
  2. Heat a wok or large skillet. Add the safflower or corn oil and heat until hot. Add the leeks and garlic, and stir-fry over medium heat until slightly softened and translucent. Add the curry powder and stir-fry for 10 seconds, until fragrant. Add the carrots, turnips, rice wine, and water, and partially cover. Cook about 5 to 8 minutes, until tender, then add the cooked rice, breaking it up with a spatula. Add the peas and the premixed Sauce. Toss lightly to coat the ingredients and spoon into a serving dish. Serve hot.

Soothing Ginger Tea


Photo: Nina Simonds

To make a cup of ginger tea, put 6 slices of smashed fresh ginger about the size of a quarter in a mug.

Add boiling water, cover with a saucer, and let steep 3 minutes.

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.