For Kylie Kwong, cooking and eating is bound inextricably with memories of family and home. She recalls her first foray into the kitchen, when she was entrusted with cooking a dish for her pau pau (maternal grandmother) and friends while they played mahjong. “I recall flinging open the kitchen back door to let some of that smoky-burn smell out before pau pau scolded me, but I don’t think pau pau and her mates even noticed, they were all so ensconced in their game!”

Though it's unlikely she smokes out the kitchen very often these days, when Kwong began developing recipes with Woolworths, she inevitably cast her mind back to where her food journey began. As she explains, stir-fried chicken fillets with cashews is, “Yet another dish which evokes strong childhood memories. We Chinese folk just love chicken and I think one of the best kitchen tips mum has ever given me is to always use the thigh-fillet cut of the chicken when stir-frying. This specific cut retains moisture and tenderness throughout the stir-frying process and works very well in contrast with the crunchy cucumber slices and roasted cashew nuts.”

“For me, this is a great dish to demonstrate the importance Chinese cuisine places on the quality of texture – we love to offer as many different textural and flavour experiences within the one dish as possible,” Kwong explains. “I like the way cucumber changes and transforms when it is heated, it absorbs all of the surrounding flavours yet still retains a pleasant crunchiness. I particularly like the subtle yet prominent taste of the Shao Hsing wine in this dish, which the chicken has been marinated in – it provides depth, character and roundness of flavour. Team this dish with a bowl of steamed rice as a meal for one or two, or serve it with some of my other dishes as part of a banquet.”

Stir-fried Chicken Fillets With Cashews
Serve as meal for 4 with steamed rice or as part of a banquet for 4 to 6.

Ingredients
800 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2 cm slices
1 medium sized cucumber
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsalted and roasted cashew nuts
6 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 tbsp Shao Hsing wine or dry sherry
2 tsp sea salt
¾ cup finely sliced spring onions

For the marinade
2 tbsp Shao Hsing wine or dry sherry
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp sea salt

Method:
Combine chicken with marinade ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Cut cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Place cucumber cut-side down on a chopping board, finely slice on the diagonal and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add half the marinated chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Remove from wok with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add remaining chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute, remove from wok and set aside.

Add remaining oil to the hot wok, stir in nuts and garlic and stir-fry on a medium heat for 30 seconds, stirring constantly to ensure garlic does not burn. Immediately return chicken to the wok and increase heat to high. Pour in wine or sherry and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add salt and continue to stir-fry for a further 30 seconds or until chicken is lightly browned and just cooked through. Lastly, add reserved cucumber and stir-fry for 10 seconds.

Arrange chicken on a platter, garnish with spring onions and serve immediately.

If you’d prefer not to make this meal from scratch, you can find it ready made at Woolworths.