Chinese Chicken With Red Peppers, String Beans, And Peanuts Or Cashews

Like every family, we have our favorite Chinese restaurants. Ours is Hunan Gourmet in Manalapan, New Jersey.  As far as I’m concerned their Chinese food is as good or better than any other, including New York City restaurants.  Recently, my children have developed a passion for P.F. Chang’s, and we go there as often as possible.  I got tired of having to go out for Chinese food, so I developed this recipe, and thrilled (and amazed) my kids with it.  My daughter Randi has just started eating meat after more than 10 years, and I made this for her.  She went crazy for it.  I will make it for her again very soon.  Better yet, I will teach her how to make it for herself.  This dish looks beautiful too, so get ready to really impress your family, your friends, and yourself with it. 

  •  1 1/2 pounds thin sliced chicken cutlets – either sliced into thin strips or cut into 1 inch cubes (I use Purdue thin sliced cutlets)
  • 2 large red peppers, cut into bite size chunks
  • 1/2 -3/4 pound string beans (I usually buy the string beans you find in the ready to microwave bag in the produce section of the supermarket- the string beans are already trimmed and washed- so you won’t have any prep work to do)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (depending on how hot you like your Chinese food)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (I use light olive oil)
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced or chopped fine
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts separated, each cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 5 – 6  tablespoons hoisin sauce (you will find this in the Chinese food aisle of your supermarket)
  • 1/4 cup water
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  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup peanuts (I use cocktail- salted) or cashews (salted or unsalted)
  • brown rice or white rice for serving (I use about 2 cups of non-instant rice for this quantity of chicken)
  • Chinese noodles for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl toss the cut up chicken with the 3/4 teaspoon salt and the 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then toss the chicken with the cornstarch with your hands.

In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat for 1 minute.  Add the crushed red pepper and stir for 30 seconds.   Add chicken, and cook for less than 1 minute.  Add the garlic, and the white parts of the scallions, the string beans, and the cut up red pepper chunks.  Stir quickly for about 2 minutes.  Then add the vinegar, continue stirring for a minute or 2 until vinegar evaporates.  Add hoisin sauce and water; continue cooking until vegetables are starting to soften- about 2-3 minutes.  Add the nuts and the green parts of the scallions. Stir one or two minutes until the sauce starts to reduce and look slightly glazed.

Place on large platter, and serve rice in another bowl.

Notes: 

  • If you start cooking your rice right before you begin the stir frying process, the rice will finish cooking when your chicken is done.   
  • You may substitute other vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, asparagus, or you may eliminate all vegetables.
  • Your cooking time will depend on the thickness of your chicken.
  • Wash you hands frequently, and use separate cutting boards for the chicken and the vegetables.
  • Save those little containers of mustard you get from the Chinese restaruant to serve along with this dish.

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