Servings: 6 Prep: 15 mins Cook: 7 mins Total: 22 mins
I attended culinary school in New York when I was very young. Literally 2 days after my 18th birthday, in fact. I readily admit to not being the best student. I was too busy being young and dumb. I had always loved cooking, but it wasn’t until I hit the serious restaurants in San Francisco before the bug REALLY bit into me. To this day, I wished I’d taken my initial schooling a bit more seriously, as the resources were massive. The library, alone, was and is likely the largest repository of all culinary information on the planet. Sadly, I was occupied with being infantile and celebrating youth.
In any event, a series of seared-in memories were the classes on Asian cuisine. The instructor began near every sentence with “GGS”. Every recipe, every technique, every approach to everything done in that class involved “GGS”.
The bulk of our lessons surrounding GGS involved thin strips of some form of meat, dredged in corn starch, then fried. From there, we’d make some kind of GGS-based vegetable medley in a rocket-hot wok, add a ridiculous amount of sugar, some broth, a bit of soy, then add our crispy, fried meat bits. Toss long enough for the starch to thicken the sauce, then serve!
As much as I love that combination (Panda Express has made a killing from it), I’ve never been a huge fan of scallions and I work to avoid sugar and starch, as much as possible. In noodling with the format, this dish takes a lot of the same ingredients and ideas, but skips the fried nibblets step. I do still use a bit of sweetener and I also add a touch of (optional) thickener, just to give all the ingredients a nice coating of sauce, clinging to the surface.
And, ultimately, this dish is based on the Chinese-American Cashew Chicken. Much like I’ve worked to reduce the sugar and starch, I’m also working to reduce the carbohydrates through the addition of almonds. See, cashews aren’t nuts. They’re actually the seed of a drupe.
What’s a drupe? Glad you asked!
Much of this gets bogged down in complex botanical categorization. By and large, they’re “stone fruits”, like apricots, cherries, and peaches. However, coffee, mango, coconut, and olives are all also drupes. Interesting, the cashew grows out of the butt of a cashew apple, a hard pear looking thing. Aren’t you glad you asked?! Sometimes I just wish I could call them nuts. But… that would be nuts!
Cashews have a fairly high carb content, with an ounce having roughly 10 net carbs. A similar quantity of almonds has a bit more than 3. So as not to completely deviate, I opted to split the difference. It’s a really nice texture and flavor, while still coming in at less than 10 net carbs.
Finally, I went with cilantro. I love cilantro in Asian preparations. If you’re not into this soapy herb, swap it out for the scallions. GGS!
All in all, a fantastic, quick stir-fry. Serve over a bed of miracle cauli-rice, then call the fam!
Almond Cashew ChickenPrint Pin Rate
- 4 boneless chicken breasts skin optional, sliced into thin strips
- 16 shiitake mushrooms stemmed and quartered
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 celery ribs diced
- 1/2 cup snow peas fibrous stem and string removed
- 4 cloved garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
- 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes optional
- 1/4 cup soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sugar replacement
- 1/4 tsp glucomannan powder (optional)
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup roasted cashew halves
- 1/4 bunch coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large-sized mixing bowl, combine chicken, mushrooms, diced onions, celery, snow peas, garlic, ginger, chili flakes (optional), and some salt to taste. Combine the mixture. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sweetener, and glucomannan powder. Whisk until the glucomannan and sweetener are dissolved. Set aside.
- Heat a large wok over high heat. If you do not have a wok, this can be done in two large sauté pans, placed over two hot burners. This is intended to be done very fast, over very high heat. If the pan is not hot enough, or too many ingredients are added, then the pan cools down and the food steams, rather than sears. This is why two pans (with twice the surface area) can work in place of a large wok.
- Once your wok, or two pans, is very hot, add coconut oil and quickly swirl to coat the bottom. Immediately add the chicken mixture, evenly spreading the ingredients along the bottom of the wok, making a single layer. Allow the ingredients to sear for about 1 minute. Mix the ingredients and spread them back into a single layer. Repeat this process, evenly searing the mixture and then mixing again. The chicken will overcook quickly, so this should only take about 3 minutes.
- Once everything has been quickly seared, pick up the soy mixture. Give it one last mix, to make sure any glucomannan or sweetener hasn’t stuck to the bottom. Pour it evenly over the ingredients. It should immediately boil. Toss the ingredients to coat with the mixture. Allow the mixture to continue cooking for about 2 more minutes, mixing occasionally.
- If the sauce isn’t thick enough for your tastes, dissolve about 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) of glucomannan powder in 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of soy sauce and add to the chicken.
- After no more than about 6 or 7 total minutes, the sauce should be nicely thickened and the chicken should be cooked through. At the last minute, toss in the almonds, cashews, and chopped cilantro. Mix in and serve with Miracle Cauli-Rice!
STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note, I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with my ideals and I believe would be of value to my readers.
* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition …