Orange Cashew Chicken (with Banana)

This is one of the few dishes that appears at Redquarters and is cooked entirely in the microwave. The recipe is from the late 1980s, when the “nuke it till it glows” school of cooking was peaking and the microwave oven was THE kitchen tool of the future. As a result, you need a microwave-safe baking dish (we use Corningware™). Be aware too that the cook time will vary because of differing power of your microwave’s “High” setting.

A pound or so of chicken. We use breasts unless thighs are on sale.

orange juice a cup or so. Depends on how much chicken and how much sauce you want. Keep in mind that if you cover the cooking dish with plastic wrap, the sauce will cook down more than if you have a glass lid.

Orange zest (I use dried) 1-2 t.

lemon zest (optional) 1t.

thickener (cornstarch) [optional] (use the amount recommended on the package)

ginger, ground clove 1 t. each or to taste

One banana

roasted cashews  a handful

I like to chop the chicken into reasonable sized pieces so that they cook evenly. Depending on the cut you use, that might not be a problem. In a bowl, blend orange juice, orange zest, lemon zest, spices. Soak the chicken in the juice mixture for an hour or so. Remove the chicken and put in the microwave-proof dish. Blend the cornstarch in with the sauce. Slice the banana into disks and scatter over the chicken. Scatter the cashews over the chicken. Pour sauce over chicken et al. Cover with plastic wrap or the lid of the baking dish. Cook on High for 12 minutes. Check the temperature of the meat. Stir the sauce a little. You want the chicken at 165 F, or white all the way through. It usually takes between 12-20 minutes. Serve over rice.

You can cook the rice with the chicken. Omit the thickener and add more OJ and some chicken broth to make 2 cups of liquid for the one cup of rice. As before, check after ten to twelve minutes. I’d increase the spices as well as the liquid, but I like strong flavors. If you have fussy eaters, bland might be a better way to start.

NOTE! This can be difficult to clean up after if the orange juice spatters and chars on the sides of the baking dish. If soaking in your favorite dish soap and hot water don’t do the trick, bleach and water will help. I usually end up bleaching the Corningware™ once or twice a year on general principles anyway.

8 thoughts on “Orange Cashew Chicken (with Banana)

  1. I recall my mother making scrambled eggs in the microwave.
    Sadly, the rubbery bowl-shaped mass wasn’t significantly worse than the rest of her cooking.
    (I learned how to cook out of self-defense. And I still run screaming at the sight of Knox onion soup mix or cream of whatever soup cans.)

  2. Sounds good.. except for banana. (I am told I likely ate my lifetime quote of banana’s early in life. Can’t stand the things now. Maybe in bread, but that’s it. Ma once tried to sneak one into a chocolate malt. That malt got the ‘Woodland Fling’ out the back door. “What was that about?” “There was a banana in it. I dealt with it.” Oddly. perhaps, artificial banana flavor doesn’t bother me.)

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