easy cashew chicken with coconut rice

Thai or Chinese food (let's just call it Homemade Takeout!) - like this spicy & sweet Cashew Chicken with Coconut Rice - is one of those things that usually just intimidates me too much to make at home.  

Homemade takeout seems so complicated, but really it's not.

Yes, the dishes usually have a lot of ingredients as far as the sauce/flavorings go, but once you've got a stocked pantry...  they are incredibly simple to throw together!

I think I get a bit more adventurous with my cooking and baking when I am pregnant.  Something about carrying a little life inside of me makes me feel very powerful and capable.

And so I do things that I normally wouldn't do...  like make homemade takeout, bagels and all sorts of homemade breads.

This cashew chicken was a spur of the moment craving-fix for me, and I am so glad I wasn't too intimidated to try!  It turned out so good, I know I will be making it often!!

(Oh, and yes, I am aware that there are no bell peppers in the picture above...  I was out of them!  But I promise you they will make the dish even better!  I doubt I would make this without them again!!)

Cashew Chicken with Coconut Rice Recipe
adapted from She Wears Many Hats
makes 4-5 large servings

for the rice:
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup jasmine rice
for the chicken:
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons soy sauce, divided (1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons)
4-5 tablespoons oil (I use vegetable oil)
4-5 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced (about 2 lb)
1 large onion, chopped into good-sized bites
1 large bell pepper, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

For the rice: 
In a medium pot, bring the coconut milk, water, salt & sugar to a boil.  Add in the rice, stirring well, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid.

Remove from the heat and let sit, without stirring, for 10 minutes.

For the chicken:
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, cayenne, ginger and 1/4 cup soy sauce, whisking to blend and dissolve the brown sugar;  Set aside.

In a large pan or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat until quite hot.  Brown the chicken (in 2 batches if necessary!) and then remove to a plate while you continue.

Toss the onions and peppers into the oil along with the remaining 2 teaspoons soy sauce and cook - stirring occasionally - until they start to brown and soften.  Toss in the garlic and sauté for a few seconds.

Return the chicken to the pan, along with the sauce and the cashews.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir and simmer for 10 minutes or so...  until the sauce has reduced a bit and everything is heated and cooked through.

To serve:
Fill a bowl with rice, top with a generous amount of the chicken & veggies and then top with a good sprinkle of basil.  Enjoy!

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