Kowloon House on West Avenue in Quezon City was a significant part of my childhood. While we feasted in Chinatown years earlier, by the time I was in my last few years of grade school, we were dining at Kowloon House more often. It was more accessible, there was ample parking space and it was more comfortable. The dining hall was large, carpeted and air-conditioned, the comfort rooms were more presentable and it was possible to make reservations in advance.
Not that we made reservations often; on most occasions that we dined at Kowloon House, it was more a spur of the moment. I remember one time (I was in the fourth or fifth grade), there were no classes because of some storm, and my father unexpectedly announced that we should get dressed because we were having lunch at Kowloon House. I threw on a light blue blazer, a cream-colored skirt and white sandals. And we went, just like that, because those were times when traffic was not a problem and a not-so-bad storm did not leave the streets flooded.
We had our Kowloon House staples back then. Before I was allergic to crustaceans, we always ordered camaron rebosado, sweet and sour pork, hototay soup, lumpiang shanghai and stir fried green peas with cashew nuts, the latter sometimes with shrimp and, at other times, with chicken.
After I became a mommy, Kowloon House would continue to be a significant part of my life. When Sam and Alex were old enough to eat table food, their first introduction to restaurant dining consisted of Chinese food. Speedy and I brought them to Kowloon House often. But we didn’t order the exact same dishes from my childhood. Among their favorites were nido (bird’s nest) soup with quail eggs, stir fried beef with broccoli, stir fried beef with mushrooms, camaron rebosado and lumpiang shanghai. No stir fried green peas with cashew nuts because they really hated green peas.
We don’t go to Kowloon House very often anymore — in fact, I can’t even remember the last time we ate there. As Sam and Alex grew older, they discovered that they preferred Japanese food over Chinese food and on the occasions that they craved Chinese food, we often went to Causeway Seafood Restaurant and President Grand Palace in Chinatown which have become for them what Kowloon House and San Jacinto in Chinatown were for me as a child.
This stir-fried chicken with green peas and cashew nuts recipe is in remembrance of those by-gone times, my childhood and my children’s, and those lovely meals we had at Kowloon House.
As with any stir fried dish, this chicken with green peas and cashew nuts should be cooked in a short time over very high heat. Remember to cut the chicken into thin slices so that they get cooked through in a matter of minutes. For more details about stir-frying, see the post on stir frying basics.
- 300 grams chicken fillets thighs or breasts, skinless or skin on
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine Japanese rice wine like mirin or sake may be substituted
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup cashew nuts
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch or corn or potato starch
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh sweet peas if bought frozen, thaw and drain before use
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- salt to taste
- drizzle sesame seed oil
- sliced scallions to garnish
- Cut the chicken fillets into thin strips. Place in a bowl and add the soy sauce, rice wine, pepper and sugar. Mix well. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or frying pan. Add the cashew nuts and toast until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Toss the chicken with the starch.
- Pour the cooking oil into the pan and heat until just starting to smoke.
- Add the chicken and stir fry until lightly browned.
- Add the onion and garlic. Continue stir frying for another few minutes until the chicken pieces are cooked through.
- Add the peas. Pour in the oyster sauce. Stir fry for a minute. Taste. Add salt (and more sugar and pepper), as needed.
- Add the cashew nuts. Toss a few times. Drizzle in the sesame seed oil.
- Transfer the stir fried chicken with green peas and cashew nuts to a serving platter, garnish with scallions and serve at once.
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