Cashew and Brinjal Chicken Stir-Fry (Serves 2 -3)
This recipe sounds like a mouthful, and it is - in a good way. Cashews and red onion provide a tender crunch, and there's just enough chicken to satisfy a carnivore. The niftiest thing about it, though, is how it treats the brinjal.
You'll want to use what's called for here: slender Japanese brinjal or the baby Indian ones, so you can cut same-size rounds. Soaking them in salted water will draw out any bitterness and help reduce the amount of oil that brinjal typically soaks up once it hits the pan. The rounds cook evenly and even get a chance to sear a bit, without losing their shape or moisture. They're almost meatier than the chicken. Just be sure each one gets turned so it can cook on both sides, which is easy to do when you're cooking in a large wok. A minimal sauce finishes the dish quite nicely.
Adapted from a recipe at TheFedUpFoodie.com.
Picture: Washington Post
450 grams slender brinjals
1 tablespoon sea salt, for the soaking water
1/2 medium red onion
340 grams boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cloves garlic
1cm piece fresh ginger root
1/3 cup no-salt-added chicken broth
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup roasted cashews (salted or unsalted)
Trim off and discard the brinjal stems, and then cut the brinjal crosswise into 1cm rounds.
Dissolve the salt in a large bowl of water, then add the brinjal rounds. Weight them down with another bowl so they stay submerged.
Soak for 18 minutes, then rinse, drain and pat dry.
Meanwhile, cut the onion into thin half-moons.
Trim off and discard all visible fat from the chicken, then cut the chicken into 2cm chunks.
Peel the garlic and ginger root; mince both and place in a liquid measuring cup, along with the broth, half the toasted sesame oil, the Sriracha, fish sauce, soy sauce and cornstarch, whisking to form a slurry.
Heat 1 teaspoon of the toasted sesame oil in a wok or nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Swirl to coat; once the oil shimmers, add the brinjal. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes, until browned on both sides, then transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil to the pan; swirl to coat, then add the chicken.
Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then add the onion and cashews; stir-fry for about 2 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Stir in the slurry and return the brinjal to the pan; stir-fry for a minute or two, just until warmed through and evenly coated.
Divide among individual plates. Serve with rice, or atop sweet potato noodles.
Serve right away.