Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Chicken with Candied Cashews

Chicken with Candied Cashews

Per capita, Australia has the largest population of people with Chinese ancestry of any country outside Asia. Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and even Cairns house densely populated Chinatowns, which make for a lively restaurant scene.


  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted roasted cashews
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 large, skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced tender celery ribs
  • 1/4 cup celery leaves
  • Steamed white rice, for serving (optional)


Step 1

Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of water. Boil over moderately high heat, swirling the pan until a rich brown caramel forms, 4 minutes. Stir in the cashews until coated. Quickly spread the nuts on the baking sheet, keeping them separate. Let cool. Break off any large pieces of caramel and reserve for a snack.

Step 2

In a small saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, scallion, and ginger. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain the oil through a coarse strainer into a medium skillet, pressing on the solids. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and simmer over low heat, whisking, until thickened, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and lightly season the sauce with salt.

Step 3

In a medium saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, turning, until white throughout, about 5 minutes.

Step 4

In a small bowl, combine the onion and garlic powders, celery seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. In another small bowl, toss the sliced celery and leaves with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and a small drizzle of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Step 5

Transfer the chicken to shallow bowls, spooning the sauce over the chicken. Top with the candied cashews and season with the celery salt. Scatter the celery salad on top and serve with rice, if desired.

Serves 4 — Recipe from Food and Wine, December 2011