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Hoisin Chicken with Cashews

I adapted this quickly cooked canapé from a main course that we all enjoyed. The only time-consuming part is marinading the chicken, other than that it is quick and easy for the canapé or the main course.

It tastes superb, the only slight down side is that it doesn’t look terribly pretty, but I guess it’s quite difficult to get chicken thighs to look good. However, the delicious wafts of hoisin and ginger that emerge from the oven while it’s cooking more than make up for the slightly dodgy appearance.

Ingredients - makes 20 (depending on size of chicken thighs)

4 skinless chicken thigh fillets

For the marinade: 4 tbsp hoisin sauce 2 tbsp runny honey 2 tsp Chinese 5 spice 2 tsp sesame oil 20 gms grated ginger 1 clove garlic finely chopped or crushed

To finish: 4 spring onions, chopped or chopped chives 30gms natural cashew nuts

Bamboo skewers


Trim away excess fat from the thighs and cut as neatly as possible into mouthful-sized chunks (aim for around 2 x 2.5 cms – very approximately).

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and mix in chicken. Place in a oven proof dish, cover and leave ingredients in the fridge for at least 3 hours, but overnight is much better.

Now get ready to brown the cashew nuts: either put in a dry frying pan and keep turning them on a medium heat until they are speckled golden brown – around 5 minutes.

Or put in an even layer on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 190 until they are golden (this method gives a more uniform appearance). Watch they don’t burn. Roughly chop them when they are cool.

20 minutes before serving get ready to cook the chicken. Place still in the marinade in a pre heated oven at 190 and bake for 15-20 minutes until it is cooked through.

To serve: arrange the nuts on a plate in a neat line or circle. Sprinkle the chopped spring onions or chives over the chicken pieces and spear them with bamboo sticks. Place carefully on the cashews.

To serve as a main course: simply bake the whole marinaded chicken thighs for approximately 25 minutes (until cooked through). Baste with the marinade once during cooking and serve on plain rice with the cashews and spring onions sprinkled over.

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