Otherwise known as cashew chicken, this dish is not hot at all depending on the chili paste you buy and how much you use. Unlike Chinese cashew chicken recipes, you should be able to find the chicken and the cashews in this dish. As I have developed it, it is not soupy. The sauce is very light, even watery which is what I have eaten in those restaurants I have liked most.
A nice addition to the chili paste is tamarind paste, or semi-liquid tamarind, both available from your Asian market.
This is my evolved recipe; I have discarded the first one I was taught as I tried and liked to follow techniques in various restaurants.
6-10 people depending on appetite.
Pictured: Sweet chili paste, tamarind paste.
1. Prepare Jasmine rice in a cooker. Count on roughly 1 cup of uncooked rice for 2 people in support of this dish. This will usually make enough for a second serving. Use exactly 1½ cups of water per cup of Jasmine rice. Unplug the rice cooker as soon as it goes from cook to warm to keep browning of the bottom layer of rice to a minimum.
2. Place oil in a hot skillet, wok or pot, then the chili paste and break it down into the oil. Then add minced or chopped garlic. Next, begin to brown the chicken and ensure that it get coated on all surfaces by the sweet chili paste. Add in a cup of the stock, cover tightly and turn down to low. If using thigh meat, cook on very low for 20-30 minutes, if breast meat, 15-20 minutes. If a lot of vapor escapes during cooking, you will need more stock than in the list here and there is a slight risk the sauce will be stronger, but if you use low sodium stock, it shouldn’t be bad just to keep adding it.
3. In a hot skillet, add more oil and caramelize first the scallions (keep a lot of the green leafy part), then the onions, then the mushrooms each time removing them to a plate at the side of the stovetop. Do the same for the baby corns, pepper slices and carrots. Don’t over-cook, especially the peppers.
If you add Thai peppers at the end, it will not make the dish hot, but it may please the purists at your table.
4. To the pot of simmering chicken, add in the sugar and remaining supplementary liquids (chicken stock and soy sauce), stir, then add the cashews. Don’t continue cooking, but transfer to a large serving platter in which you’ve placed the vegetables. The hot meat and sauce will rewarm the vegetables.