My wok is 18 years old, it was one of the first gifts I received when I moved from France to the US, back in 1995.  Thank you, dear friend, you know who you are…  😉  I used it a lot in Oklahoma, even though our stove was not powerful enough to bring the best in stir-frying.  The wok patiently waited for me inside a box when we traveled for two sabbaticals, and into the box it went again when we moved to the Little Apple and co-existed with an electric stove that even Benjamin Franklin would consider sub-par.  Once Supernova was installed, I went to the basement to retrieve my old friend, apologized for the neglect inflicted upon him, and said his loyalty would be compensated: he would meet a superstar and they would live happily ever after…   Happy to report that it was love at first flame!


(inspired by Fine Cooking magazine & Barbara Tropp)

2 Tbs peanut oil
1 medium shallot,  sliced
2 Piquillo peppers, sliced
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch chunks and velveted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. snow peas, trimmed
Crushed red chile flakes
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup hoisin sauce diluted with 2 Tbs water
1/3 cup roasted cashews

The day before or a few hours before your meal, velvet the chicken using this method. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the shallot slices and cook for 2 to 3 min. Add the Piquillo peppers  (I buy them jarred) and cook until both the pepper and onion are browned around the edges. Remove the vegetables from the skillet; set aside. Pour the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in the skillet. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the oil, and cook, stirring frequently, so that all sides brown, 2 to 3 min. Stir in the snow peas and sprinkle in some red chile flakes. Add the ginger. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the thinned hoisin sauce. Simmer for 1 min. to wilt the snow peas and finish cooking the chicken.  Sprinkle with the cashews and serve over rice.


to print the recipe, click here

served2Comments:  Velveting the chicken makes this type of stir-fry so much better that it’s worth investing the small amount of work to do it.  Since the chicken can stay in the egg white mixture for up to 24 hours, you could conceivably do it the evening before you intend to make it for dinner.  I prefer to do this preparation either when I wake up, or if time allows, at lunch time. Piquillo peppers are from Spain, so their use in this dish qualifies as “fusion-cooking”.  In reality, I had an open jar in my fridge and wanted to use it up.  So there. 😉

What I love the most about this recipe is the simplicity of the finishing sauce, a mixture of hoisin and water, no cornstarch to deal with.  The snow peas barely got in touch with any heat, so they stayed bright green and with a little crunch that was perfect to add that extra something to the dish.  A real keeper for a weeknight, there were only three little pieces of chicken left, which made for a super light lunch next day. But, at least I did not have to share…

Hoisin Chicken with Cashews

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33 thoughts on “SUPERNOVA MEETS WOK

  1. This does sound good, Sally, and it really isn’t hard to prepare — a big plus for me. I appreciate your providing a link to your post containing instructions to velvet the chicken. That process has really piqued my interest and I’m going to give it a try. Now all I need is a Supernova and I’ll be all set. 🙂


  2. I’ve heard of using beaten egg whites to make shrimp crunchy and juicy but hadn’t really thought of using it with chicken breasts. The technique sounds relatively simple to manage though I am curious as to what one does if they don’t use/have wine available. I’m now regretting giving away my wok in the great basement clearout of of 2010.


    • I am wondering if you could use a very small amount of a mild vinegar instead…. it is a texture change – when you stir fry the chicken or meat without this step, the edges can get a rough texture, the meat keeps sticking to the sides of the wok. The velveting changes all that – the term is quite appropriate actually – it softens the texture of the meat.


  3. It was a pairing made in heaven: Wok & Supernova–I’m sure you’ll be enjoying their combined efforts for years to come. And their first outing looks delicious! Good Job! I have been lax in my wok cooking, though just this week I made a beef & mushroom stir-fry on the fly with left over London Broil and on the edge mushrooms. The velveting does require pre-thought and planning–which is what I’m all about for clients but not so much for us at home!

    PS Photos are fab!


  4. I will definitely have to try this! Maybe this weekend! 🙂 Did you blanch the snowpeas before adding to the wok or just add raw? Does the velveting process have the same effect as soaking the meat in a baking soda slurry? I tried the baking soda thing for a Thai recipe I made and the chicken had this funky/hard texture on the outside, which kind of detracted from the flavor, to me. That, or I could just be finnicky. 🙂


    • No, I did not blanch them, and that’s another interesting twist in this recipe that simplifies but doesn’t affect quality, quite the contrary.

      The effect of velveting has nothing to do with that cornstarch coating which I’ve used before and did not care for at all, very odd texture in the exterior…. try this sometime and let me know how you like it…


  5. Am already trying to taste this on my palate ere I have even attempted the recipe! Interesting. Don’t think I have used hoisin alone: usually it has been one of 2-3 other sauces in the same marinade/stirfry. Also this has more chile/pepper than I ‘normally’ use. So am really looking forewards to trying it out!


  6. This looks lovely and I’m forwarding it to Ryan. He just got a wok and he’s been using it right and left! Maybe this will inspire him. We’re having dinner guests on Monday and he’s agreed to cook! Thank you for sharing!


    • That’s so funny! Lots of things we “haven’t seen for years” – some of them end up showing up inside a box, often in the lab, of all places! 🙂 I hope you find your wok, and when you do, try this recipe, or the Hoisin Explosion I featured earlier. They are similar, this one a tad simpler to put together


    • Nice to see you here! Well, I have one piece of equipment that I feel pretty bad about never using it. My stove top smoker…. oh, well – maybe you should bring your wok to play and I should invite my poor stove top smoker! 😉


  7. What a beautiful contrast, your brand new stove, to your first love! I believe my wok is about that old too, a gift from my dad. I’ll never part with it! I’m thrilled to see a healthy recipe as this season of indulgence takes over! As you mentioned, it’s perfect for a week night, easy enough and a healthy break!


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