Honey Stir-fry Chicken with Peanuts

The history of American stir-fry begins in the mid-1800’s when when Chinese immigrants began settling in California. In the 1920’s Asian cuisines piqued the interest of a growing group of modern socialites because it was considered exotic. It wasn’t until after World War II that Asian cuisines filtered down to mainstream America. Problem was much of what was labeled as authentic Chinese food was far from it. General Tao with broccoli, Won ton soup, chop suey, egg rolls, barbecued spareribs, sweet-and-sour pork amoung others (including this recipe for Chicken Honey Peanut Stir-Fry) were concocted purposely for the palettes of American diners. The reason being most of the ingredients that go into authentic Chinese dishes was not and still is not available here in the states. Another reason was that the average American found the spices often used in Asian cuisine too pungent. They do use sauces but they are far from the sweetened brown sauces we see here. Back home they used what they had on hand mostly spices, pastes, freshly picked vegetables and little meat.

Today Chinese restaurants still cater to the American’s love of egg rolls and fried garlic chicken yet there are more establishments available offering dishes that closely resemble the real deal. You just have to ask. The Wok however is genuine. It is said to have been around for about two thousand years. The wok is considered to be the most important piece of cooking equipment in South East Asia and China. The rounded bottom of the wok enables the chef to stir-fry, steam, and boil all in one pan.

Source: Robin Webb
2 tsp peanut oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into strips
1 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup orange juice
3 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp minced fresh ginger root
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup minced green onions

Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a wok over high heat. Add the carrots and celery and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, then add the chicken and stir fry for 5 more minutes.

In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch into the orange juice. Mix in the soy sauce, honey and ginger. Add this sauce to the wok and cook over medium heat until thickened. Top with the cashews and green onions.

Serve over noodles, rice or a bed of steamed cabbage.

– Add a colorful array of your favorite vegetables such as: cabbage, bok choy, spinach, Chinese broccoli, Chinese green beans, mushrooms, red chili pepper.
– Can sub turkey, pork, tofu or mushrooms for the chicken.