Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chicken and Cashew Stir-Fry with Ginger-Scented Rice

For some reason, I always have trouble with jasmine rice. It isn't as forgiving as my old-reliable Uncle Ben's. I can't turn my back on it for a minute or it sticks and burns to the bottom of the pot. So I guess it's a good thing we've started eating early on Sundays because I had time to make a second pot of rice after scorching the first batch. Burned rice has an unpleasant smell. My family was kind enough to point this out to me as I chipped rice off the bottom of my pot in hopes of scrubbing it clean enough to try again. Because you can't have stir-fry without rice. (Although you could have it with noodles. Next time I'll try noodles.) Actually, once I managed to cook the rice properly it was really good. The first batch used up most of my fresh ginger so it wasn't quite as ginger-scented as it might have been, but it worked well with the chicken and cashew stir-fry. And the hardest part of that dish was cutting up the chicken, which I delegated.

Ginger-Scented Rice - from Epicurious

1 3-inch-long 1-inch-thick piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup jasmine rice, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Using garlic press, squeeze enough fresh ginger into small bowl to measure 1 1/2 tablespoons juice with pulp. Transfer ginger to small saucepan. (Having no garlic press, I grated my ginger using a super-fine grater.)

Add 1 1/2 cups water, rice, butter, and salt to same pan. Cover; bring to boil over high heat. (As already noted, I had to watch the rice carefully and stir it while it was coming to a boil. Otherwise it stuck and burned to the bottom of the pot.)

Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat; let rice sit 10 minutes. Uncover; fluff rice with fork.

Chicken and Cashew Stir-fry - from Epicurious

  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted roasted whole cashews

Chop scallions, separating white and green parts. Pat chicken dry, then cut into 3/4-inch pieces and toss with salt and pepper. Heat a wok or 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over moderately high heat until a drop of water evaporates immediately. Add oil, swirling to coat, then stir-fry chicken until golden in places and just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add bell pepper, garlic, ginger, red-pepper flakes, and scallion whites to wok and stir-fry until peppers are just tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar, then stir into vegetables in wok. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cashews, scallion greens, and chicken along with any juices accumulated on plate.

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