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Stir-Fried Spicy Chicken With Orange Zest and Crispy Cashews

adapted from China Moon Cookbook, by Barbara Tropp

Velvet Marinade and Chicken:



In a bowl, briskly whisk together the marinade ingredients through the cornstarch until smooth and thick. Add the
chicken and toss well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 to 24 hours. Let come to room temperature and
re-toss before cooking.

Combine the aromatics in a small dish; cover until ready to use.

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Stir to blend, leaving the spoon in the bowl.

Blanch the broccoli or carrot in simmering water to cover to seal the color and cook the outside, 15 to 30 seconds.

Plunge the vegetable into ice water to chill, then drain. Blanch the baby corn (if fresh) for 5 seconds. Chill in ice
water and drain. All the above, including the vegetable cutting, may be done a full day ahead. Seal and refrigerate
the ingredients; bring to room temperature before cooking.

About 15 minutes before serving, bring 4 cups of water to a steaming near simmer. Add the chicken, stir to
separate the cubes, and cook until the outside turns 90% white, 40 to 50 seconds. Drain and set aside. The chicken
will be cooked on the outside and a bit raw in the center.

Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat until hot enough to evaporate a bead of water on contact. Add 2
tablespoons of the oil and swirl to glaze pan. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a scallion ring on contact, reduce
the heat to moderate and add the aromatics. Stir gently until fully fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds, adjusting the heat so
they foam without browning. Add the onion and bell pepper, and toss briskly until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the
carrots (if using) and the baby corn, and toss until hot, about 1 minute. Add the cabbage, broccoli, chilis or dried
chili flakes, and toss until the cabbage is wilted, about 1 minute. As you stir-fry, adjust the heat to maintain a merry
sizzle and drizzle a bit more oil down the side of the pan, if needed to prevent sticking.

Stir the sauce and add it to the pan. Raise the heat to high, cover the pan, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Stir the
cornstarch mixture, add it to the pan, and stir the sauce until turns glossy, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the chicken cubes
and toss gently until the chicken in cooked through, about 30 seconds.

Serve on a heated platter. Garnish with cashews.