Walnut Chicken

  • Yield 4 servings

This recipe pairs the crunchy texture of walnuts with the softness of chicken in a classic stir-fry. "For a variation, try this recipe with other nuts such as pine nuts or almonds, but be sure the nuts you use are very fresh. Stale nuts tend to go soft and will spoil both the texture and the flavor of the dish."--Ken Hom

Ingredients

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 -- egg white
2 teaspoons cornstarch
-- Salt
3 ounces walnuts, shelled halves or pieces
1 1/4 cups peanut or vegetable oil, or water, plus 1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice rine or dry sherry
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes.  Combine them with the egg whites, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl, and put into the fridge for about 20 minutes.  Blanch the walnuts in a small saucepan of boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drain them.

  2. Heat a wok or a large skillet until it is very hot and add the 1 1/4 cups of oil (if using water, see below).  When the oil is very hot, remove the wok from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking together.  After about 2 minutes, when the chicken has turned white, quickly drain it in a stainless steel colander set over a bowl.  Discard the oil.
  3. If you choose to use water instead of oil, bring it to a boil in a saucepan.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking together.  After about 2 minutes, when the chicken has turned white, quickly drain it in a stainless steel colander set over a bowl.  Discard the water.
  4. If you have used a wok or skillet to cook the chicken, wipe it clean with paper towels.  Reheat it until it is very hot, and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.  Add the walnuts and stir-fry them for 1 minute, then remove and set aside.  Add the garlic, ginger and green onions and stir-fry for a few seconds.  Return the walnuts to the wok and add the rest of the ingredients, then return the chicken to the wok and stir-fry the mixture for another 2 minutes.  Serve at once.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Ken Hom’s Complete Chinese Cookbook (Firefly Books, 2011). 

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