Looking for an easy recipe to throw together on a weeknight when you are swamped and just want take-out? This sweet and spicy recipe fits the bill. I whipped this up last week after flipping through my cookbook, Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. I had the chicken and dates on hand so it only required a few extra ingredients from the store, making this a win-win in my book. It’s super simple, flavorful and gave me that takeout “flavor” without having to call anything in!
The addition of fresh herbs at the end pumps up the freshness factor, while the crunch from the cashews and the sweetness from the dates creates a delicious flavor play on your palette. Oh, and I can’t forget all that ginger and garlic. Flavor Bomb! With that, I give you….Sesame Chicken with Cashews and Dates!
- 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into “coins”
- 6 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), cut into 2-inch lengths
- 3 to 4 dried red chiles, or 1/2 teaspoon chili flake
- 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs (I used chicken breast instead)
- 1/2 cup toasted cashews
- 1/3 cup rice wine
- 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce or tamari
- 4 pitted dates, thinly sliced
- 3 cups fresh basil or cilantro leaves, or a combo (which I did and highly suggest)
- Lime juice, to taste
- Cooked brown rice, for serving
Season your chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat up a cast iron skillet (what I used) or a wok (if you have one) until it’s VERY hot, at least a couple minutes.
Add 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil to the pan and swirl it around. Once oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger, chile and scallions. Stir fry until the garlic is lightly golden brown at the edges. Inhale and then exhale all the deliciousness coming out of the pan right about now!
Add the 2 tablespoons remaining sesame oil, chicken and cashes and stir fry until everything starts to brown a bit (at least 4-5 minutes). I let my chicken go even longer than my picture below shows as I like the extra flavor the browned bits add.
Add in the rice wine, soy sauce and dates and allow the sauce to come to a light simmer and then reduce to a syrupy consistency.
Once done, scoop out onto brown rice and sprinkle with chopped basil and cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
There’s a real tang to this recipe which I love, and again – the play between spicy and sweet is super delish. If you like sesame seeds, I’d sprinkle them at this point as well! Enjoy!