Szechuan Chicken with Cashew Nuts.
This is one of my absolute favourite meals.
I adore food, so to try to extract a single favourite from the long list of food I love is a big ask. But if I had to, Szechuan Chicken with Cashew Nuts would definitely be right up there at the top of those favourites.
Since learning to eat more healthily, I’ve avoided making this much-loved dish. Firstly, because commercial hoisin sauce, so central to the flavour, is full of nasties. (I was horrified to see what I’d been feeding myself and the people I love when I actually looked at the list of ingredients. I challenge you to look at the ingredients on your own jar and not recoil in horror.) Then secondly, I avoided making it because I love rice. I mean, I love rice. And this dish just seems to require rice. Of course, I can eat rice. But if I eat rice, it means I have to make Szechuan Chicken less, because when I eat rice it gravitates to my hips and belly, and who needs that? Such a quandary! One has to draw the line somewhere. Doesn’t one?
Or does one?
I missed my Szechuan Chicken! Once I’d figured out how to make my own healthy hoisin sauce, that particular hurdle — the main hurdle — was behind me. As for rice, of course the usual grain-free rice substitute is cauliflower. Yes indeed, cauliflower. It’s a dish affectionately known as “cauli rice”, which is simply cauliflower that’s been grated or lightly buzzed in a food processor to a rice-like consistency. No, it doesn’t taste like rice. Not on its own, anyway. I mean, it’s cauliflower. However, like rice, lightly-cooked cauliflower has no strong flavour of its own but adopts the flavours of the dishes with which it’s served, so really it’s no hardship to go without rice itself. If you serve it to your family or friends instead of rice, chances are they won’t even notice. Especially in a dimly lit room. 😉
It also provides a way to soak up those sauces because, you know, waste not want not. (Mmmmm, the sauces!)
Or, you can just use a small amount of steamed white rice. Choose what works for you.
I’ve made a few other adjustments to make it more healthy overall, but I’m willing to bet those of you who have cooked up my old recipe won’t notice, because it’s still just plain YUM.
So let’s get cooking!