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Springfield-Style Cashew Chicken served in SoCal??

OK, this has gone on long enough. I've lived out here for 15 years and am really getting tired of making this myself.

What am I talking about? Springfield, MO style Cashew Chicken!

"What? We have plenty of Cashew Chicken in the Los Angeles area?"

NOT LIKE THIS.

This recipe originated in Springfield, MO back in the 1940's. The recipe is different from what you are used to in several ways:

1) The chicken is battered pieces and deep fried in peanut oil.
2) The gravy contains oyster sauce, soy sauce, and chicken broth. It is dark brown.
3) No friggin' mixed vegetables. It is only topped with cashews and chopped green onions.

To the health conscious amongst you who think this sounds horrible and would not do well in this area -- I'm only going to say two words: Orange Chicken.

Cashew Chicken is served in restaurants all over Springfield and the surrounding area. It is a HUGE hit to this day and has been ever since it was introduced. Dare I say it is MORE popular there than Orange Chicken is here.

This link will tell you all about it and give you a recipe:

http://afridgefulloffood.typepad.com/...

Personally though, she got a few things wrong....you have to use peanut oil and you don't have to put the chicken back in the pan for 20 minutes (insane -- I guess to keep it warm?)

This is recipe is much more correct:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Springfi...

So, anyone here aware of this stuff? I grew up on it in the 80's and make it on my own occasionally, but since I have to get out the deep fryer, it's a pain. I'd much rather go to a place like Panda Express and order it.

I live in Alhambra, and we have a TON of authentic Chinese restaurants here, so I'm sure no one in this or surrounding cities would touch this recipe. But I'm sure Panda would consider it (I've already emailed them) or some of the "1.00 Chinese restaurants" that exist "outside" of the Alhambra/Rosemead/San Gabriel area would give it a try (basically any place that serves Orange Chicken).

The million dollar question for me is: does anyone out here *already* serve it? I'm guessing no. Springfield, MO is not exactly making any huge headway in the Culanary world. The only hope is that it is served in Branson, MO and with that place becoming quite "the spot" maybe someone would come back here and crave this stuff.

Comments please! What do I need to do to get someone to try serving this here????

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  1. No, and I doubt if you'll ever see it out here because it's such a regional favorite, and a very narrow region at that. Same thing like the chow mein sandwich out of Rhode Island and the St. Paul egg foo young sandwich found in St. Louis. Also, it sounds like a southern U.S. type of dish, which is not the type of stuff that widely found in the L.A. area. I've been plotting for 20 years trying to figure out how to work Springfield, MO into one of my travel itineraries, but I haven't come close.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chandavkl

      That's a valid point that puts into perspective for me. I am sure people from the other two regions you mentioned would insist that their local favorites would do well out here too (although to me personally they both sound kind of gross..heh heh).

      I know Brad Pitt is from Springfield. I am sure he is well aware of the Cashew Chicken there and hopefully misses it as much as I do. Maybe if I appeal to him, his star power can get it served out here. LOL

    2. I believe Hop Woo in Alhambra has this, as does Bamboo in SFV.

      Hop Woo
      1 W. Main Street.
      Alhambra, CA.
      Tel: (626) 289-7938

      Bamboo
      14010 Ventura Blvd.
      Sherman Oaks, CA
      Tel: (818) 788-0202

      2 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Woah. Wait a minute! You mean they batter and deep fry the chicken and serve it with the oyster sauce/soy sauce/chicken broth mixture I described above? Topped with cashews and chopped green onions with no other vegetables mixed in??

        Seriously!?!??

        If that's right, then you have just changed my world forever. :)

        1. re: atrac

          Well, I just called both places and unfortunately they are both the wrong kind of Cashew Chicken. Both places pan fry the chicken, vs. the battered and deep fried chicken that is essential to the recipe. I didn't even bother to ask about the gravy since pan frying means immediate F. The funny thing is, both places seemed surprised by my question --- as if to say "Pan fried...how *else* would it be made???" How else indeed...

          But, I appreciate the effort you made to help me. Thanks for trying! :)

          Brad Pitt -- I need you man, help me out here!!!!

      2. My mother shocked the hell out of me by sending me this sauce mix! You can buy it at the Wal*Mart's in Springfield. $2.00 a container! Just add water!

        http://www.imgplace.com/image_bin/757...

        (sorry the pic is a bit blurry

        )

        I think I can stop my quest now. With the combination of your recommendation on "easy" fried chicken nuggets and this sauce, it couldn't get any easier to eat the stuff out here (unless, of course, it was selling in a restaurant).

        3 Replies
        1. re: atrac

          Glad to know I'm not the only one who is obsessed with this stuff. When's everyone else going to catch on????

          1. re: sierraskyesmom

            The current longest thread on this board deals with dishes you can't find in Los Angeles, and if you can't find a New England lobster roll in L.A., you gotta know that Springfield cashew chicken would waaay down on the list.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7160...

            1. re: Chandavkl

              Is your comment anything like the long board lists we get looking for the "true" Philly Cheesesteak here in Los Angeles? Chef's who come to Los Angeles, no matter from where, make their true regional food adapt to California tastes. You want the real thing? Either make it or go there. A true schweinehaxen is the only thing that would lure me back to Munich. And no, I can't make them myself because I've tried even having the pork shanks shipped from a German butcher on the east coast.

        2. dammit, now I'm craving Cashew Chicken, in particular the Cashew Chicken from Grand Fortuna in Joplin, which is a branch of the family that originated the recipe, all the other local chinese places that serve Cashew Chicken are not as good as the 'authentic' version.

          I do like the OP pointed out it has to be chunks of chicken. I was horrified when I came to los angeles and found out all the meat except orange chicken is served in paper thin strips with two pounds of batter. I don't think I've ever actually tasted any chicken in a los angeles chinese food dish involving fried pieces of chicken. (I jest of course, just exaggerating for comic effect. ;) Naturally Panda has actual chicken in such dishes.)

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