Pork, broccoli and cashew stir fry

21 Aug

DSCI0111I have become a little disillusioned by the food served in Chinese restaurants of late.  Somehow it all tastes very similar and I seem to have a headache the day after eating it. Maybe that’s the wine, oh well.  I have had some success with just throwing in various meats, fish and vegetables into a flavourless oil and stir frying but it is the sauce I struggle with.  There are some amazing Chinese flavourings for sauces but the combination of them to make a balanced tasty sauce is quite tricky.  I have, over recent years found some excellent combinations for classic Chinese dishes such as Sweet and Sour.  The sauce for this dish is similar to a Sichuan sauce but not nearly as fiery as those I have experienced in the past.

I thought I would find out a little more about cashew nuts.

The cashew tree is a tropical evergreen that produces the cashew nut and the cashew apple.  The cashew nut is served as a snack or used in recipes, like other nuts, although it is actually a seed.

The cashew apple is a fruit, whose pulp can be processed into a sweet, astringent fruit drink or distilled into liqueur.Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the nut of the cashew is a seed. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing an allergenic phenolic resin, anacardic acid, a potent skin irritant chemically related to the better-known allergenic oil urushiol which is also a toxin found in the related poison ivy. Properly roasting cashews destroys the toxin, but it must be done outdoors as the smoke (not unlike that from burning poison ivy) contains urushiol droplets which can cause severe, sometimes life-threatening, reactions by irritating the lungs.  It seems like someone has to go through a hazardous process to bring us this snack.

I found the recipe in a Good Food magazine.  Here is a link to it on their website. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/sichuan-pork-broccoli-cashew-stir-fry

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