Chicken with Wild Garlic (Ramsons, Ramps) and Cashew Nuts

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Wild garlic is finally there! Since its season is very short, I am particularly attentive to its appearance at my farmers’ market and try to include it into my meals as often as I can. Possibilities are galore, but this simple stir-fried dish is one of the easiest way to introduce wild garlic to one’s culinary repertoire. I cannot remember how many times I have prepared it, but I am always amazed at the transformation the delicately seasoned chicken undergoes thanks to a handful of green leaves. Sliced and added just before the end of the frying process, wild garlic laces the meat pieces with a subtle garlicky and unique flavour. My beloved cashew nuts create a pleasant difference of textures.

Wild garlic, also called ramsons, ramps, buckrams, bear’s garlic or bear paw garlic, grows all around Europe and in North America (ail des ours, czosnek niedźwiedzi, megyhagyma, aglio orsino…). Unlike its domesticated and well known cousin, wild garlic’s most important part are long wide fragrant leaves (see the photo above) and flowers. Wild garlic has a very distinct garlic scent and apparently a favourite of bears, who would dig out its bulbs (hence the Latin name: Allium Ursinum). While its use in the kitchen is widespread in certain countries, it is almost non-existent in the others and I must admit I discovered its existence thanks to its popularity in Switzerland, but only about two years ago.

Until now I have posted only two other recipes using wild garlic (see below), but it is a very versatile herb. The leaves are equally good raw and cooked, so have a look around your forests and markets and start experimenting with it. You can add it into salads, serve with fish, meat, stir-fries and you should definitely dry it and powder it, so that you profit a bit from wild garlic’s aroma also out of season. You might also like one of the two recipes I have posted:

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Wild Garlic Pest with Almonds

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Wild Garlic Pillows

TIP: Wild garlic’s long leaves (like the one in the background of the photo above) are very similar to those of the lily of the valley and mixing them up is very dangerous, since the latter are toxic. The strong smell created when the leaves are rubbed is the only way to distinguish them if one is not an experienced ramsons picker. Planting its bulbs the garden (I have learnt it was possible on the Cottage Smallholder website) or buying leaves from a trustworthy market stall are the safest options.

Preparation: about 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves one):

1 small chicken breast, skinned

1 generous handful of sliced wild garlic leaves

2 tablespoons cashew nuts

1 teaspoon sake + 1/8 teaspoon salt

Sauce:

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sake

1 teaspoon mirin or syrup or sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.

In a small bowl combine them with salt and sake. Put aside.

Warm a pan, grease it slightly and toast the cashew nuts.

Put them aside.

Slice the wild garlic leaves horizontally (you can leave the stalks or remove them, it’s up to you).

Drain the chicken breast pieces.

Add a tablespoon oil to the pan.

When it warms up, fry the chicken pieces and when they are well cooked, add the cashew nuts and the sliced leaves.

Stir-fry about 20 seconds and then add the sauce.
When it thickens, the dish is ready to be served.

 

39 thoughts on “Chicken with Wild Garlic (Ramsons, Ramps) and Cashew Nuts

  1. shuhan

    SISSI. OUR SPOOKY ESP THING IS AT WORK AGAIN.

    I just did a blog (video blog actually!) about wild garlic foraging and wild garlic fried beehoon (real sg noodles). And I come over and guess what I see! wild garlic with chicken looks delicioussssss! I’m also intrigued by those gorgeous golden pillows! Love wild garlic season.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Shuhan. Once more??? It sounds spooky indeed! I will check your video in a minute. The photo is really bad, but these golden pillows are really a fantastic snack (if you organise a party, make sure everyone has some, so that everyone has a garlicky breath 😉 ). In general, if you prepare wild garlic pesto, you can prepare so many things with it!

  2. Eva Taylor

    What a gorgeous dish Sissi, I can almost smell the wonderful aroma wafting from it. I love the addition of cashews, the creamy crunchy texture must be lovely against the chicken. I don’t think we have wild garlic here, but I will keep an eye out on my trip to the farmer’s market (which haven’t yet started due to our long running winter!) Finally today the temperatures will hit close to 20°C but they are also predicting 2°C on Saturday. This is not fun.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you very much, Eva. I am addicted to cashews. If they weren’t the most caloric nuts, I would have handfuls of them every day and I love them in stir-fries. They are delicate, so they go well with everything and they add a different texture too.
      I’m sure you have wild garlic in your forests! Canada is so famous for its wild nature… Just search well on google, look at the photos and smell e every leaf to avoid lily-of-the-valley. Actually, few countries sell it, but it grows in many parts of the world.
      I think we are out of winter definitely, it’s so hot and sunny and… I have a cold (I hope it’s not a flu!).

  3. Sylvia

    It’s so cute how both you and Shuhan posted wild garlic recipes on the same day! haha Lovely dish you have here and I’m so jealous that Shuhan managed to forage for hers!

  4. A_Boleyn

    I believe ramps are what the father in Rapunzel stole from the witch’s garden to satisfy his pregnant wife’s craving resulting in his having to give his daughter to her. I’ve never tasted them but you make the dish sound so wonderful. And I love the look of those garlic pillows. 🙂 Someone recently posted chicken/cashew meatballs on their blog … funny coincidence.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, A_Boleyn. I haven’t heard this scary tale. Chicken and cashew meatballs sound very interesting.

        1. Sissi Post author

          Thank you for the link! I should have guessed… Grimm brothers wrote horrible tales… According to the French version of the tale and French wikipedia, this is the plant the pregnant woman craved: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campanule_raiponce (not wild garlic).
          (By the way, there is a popular organic food brand called “Rapunzel”, I think it’s German…).

  5. mjskit

    Bummer – I’ve never seen wild garlic in the markets here. I’ll have to take a much closer look and start asking around because I would love to try it. Of course you know how much I love garlic, so I quite curious as to how wild garlic differs from what I normally buy. I love the idea and using the greens. What a simple and tasty little dish this must be. I love it as I love all of your dishes!

    1. Sissi Post author

      MJ, I’m sure you would love wild garlic (look around the woods: it’s difficult to be mistaken if you make sure every leaf smells garlicky). Wild garlic is mainly leaves (like the one you see a bit in the photo). Thank you so much for kind compliments. I’m very flattered.

      1. mjskit

        Sissi, I had to laugh when you said “look around in the woods”. I live in the desert – there are no woods for miles around. 🙂 I will start asking around though. It might grow in the forest of northern New Mexico, but I don’t remember anything like that from my backpacking days. Have a wonderful week my friend!

        1. Sissi Post author

          Haha! You have made me laugh now too! I’m sorry, I’m a bit ignorant about the US geography and moreover, while I knew you lived somewhere in the warmer part, I really had no idea where exactly…

  6. wok with ray

    Being a huge fan of garlic (eater but not as expert), this bowl of chicken of yours is something I would definitely adore. The pesto’s vibrant color is driving me crazy as it’s having this craving effect on me. Have a wonderful weekend, Sissi! 🙂

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Ray. The pesto is definitely for garlic fans only, but this dish was only slightly garlicky.

  7. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    Sissi, this dish looks gorgeous! Talk about bringing cashew chicken to a whole new level! I learnt so much from this post. I’m a bit sad to say that I don’t think I’ve ever tasted wild garlic (or seen it at the farmers’ market) and yet, it feels like I’ve been missing out big time, not only on its unique taste but the leaves are so wonderful! At first I thought you had added spinach to your dish until I realized it was the lovely native leaves of the garlic… How fabulous is that? Your stir-fry brings all of these delightful ingredients together in a warm and enticing bowl. New mission: I must hunt down wild garlic! ;-).

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Kelly, for all the compliments. I’m sure you will find wild garlic in the woods (just make sure it smells garlicky, otherwise it might be lily of the valley).

  8. Liz

    Yours is the second lovely dish featuring wild garlic that I’ve run across today. I need to check out our farmers’ market to see if they have this item…as your dish looks DELISH!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Liz. I hope you can find wild garlic and taste it soon. It’s really worth discovering.

  9. Charles

    Hehe, I just saw Shuhan’s vlog about wild garlic too. Is it very common in markets Sissi? I don’t think I ever saw it before, but I will be more attentive. I don’t think I ever tried it before but it smells SO good. There was a forest near my parents’ home in England which had so much growing in it and when you walked through the smell was just incredible!!

    I love the look of your dish… I can just imagine the incredible flavour the fresh, delicious, leaves must impart on the chicken! You make me feel like I have to find some of this stuff… if not from a market then I’ll drive out to some forest somewhere with a river and source it myself!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Charles. It’s funny, isn’t it? Shuhan posted it the same day I posted my recipe! I find it easier on my Swiss market, but I saw it yesterday on my French market too. I think you will find it, but maybe at organic stalls or those selling only herbs; I saw it in France at a stall which sells only herbs and salads). Hurry up if you want to taste it because it will be finished in four weeks I think. (You can always forage but do not pick up lily of the valley: smelling the leaves is enough of course). Good luck!
      Thank you for the compliments. It was a very simple dish, but the wild garlic made it unusual.

  10. Katerina

    Ok, I don’t have the time to go to the farmer’s market, cause I am working, but I will try and find a farmer’s market that is open on Saturdays only to find this wild garlic and try this delicious dish! I have all the rest of the ingredients. If I find it my friend I will definitely make this. Looks absolutely perfect.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Katerina. I am lucky because one of my markets is just on my way to the tram stop, so last time I bought wild garlic I just stopped for a minute on my way to work 🙂 I also go to a big market in France on Saturdays. I hope you can taste it soon (hurry up, the season ends at the end of May!).

  11. Amy Tong

    I love garlic so much that I almost put them in every single savory dishes that I prepared! Gosh, those Wild Garlic Pillows are lovely. I’m going to check those out next. And this Chicken with Wild Garlic and Cashew Nuts is divine. I can almost smell the savory goodness and aroma from here. 😛

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks a lot, Amy. If you are fond of garlic, then you would love its wild leafy version I’m sure.

  12. Gourmantine

    Ah, wild garlic! It has just started appearing in markets here too and I’ve been wondering what to do with it. Great recipe with tips Sissi and this is a beautiful dish. I like the idea of drying and powdering, do you dry it in the oven or dehydrator?

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks a lot, Gourmantine. Including wild garlic into stir-fried dishes is an easy and quick way (it’s also a nice way to use the wilted leaves because ramsons do wilt quickly alas). I usually dry it on baking paper spread close to the window (it can be done on a windowsill if you have it). A couple of sunny days and the leaves are completely dry! Otherwise, if the weather is bad, I put it into the oven at 50°C (lowest temperature). Dehydrator is a gadget I try not to be tempted by 😉 (there are so many kitchen appliances I would love to buy before it…). For now, my oven and radiators in the winter do the job very well. I hope you will experiment with it soon!

  13. Sue | My Korean Kitchen

    I add garlic to most of dishes I cook but I don’t think I had wild garlic before. I should look around whether it’s available. You made me so intrigued. 😀 And bears like wild garlic too!? I’m very surprised to hear that. I thought they only eat honey and chocolate. Hehe

  14. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    I heard about wild garlic! However, I haven’t seen it before…but I’ll pay more attention. Sorry I’ve been MIA lately…very very busy. 🙁 This looks like it’s easy but full of great flavor especially from garlic. I love this seasoning and use it often too. I also noticed your creative Eco-friendly chopstick holder! 😉

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Nami, for noticing the edible chopstick holder 😉 I found it was a funny way to show how a wild garlic leaf looked, but I think no one has noticed apart from you!

  15. Juliana

    I never had wild garlic, and now I must tried it after seeing your post…the chicken looks delicious Sissi…and I can only imagine the flavor of it…yum!
    Thanks for the recipe and hope you are having a lovely week 🙂

  16. Zsuzsa

    Sissi I never had wild mushrooms so I can’t relate. But the photos are amazing – those foods would be good with any kind of garlic. Williams Lake is a small town about 3.5 hrs drive from us in the B.C. interior and our daughter and son in law once took in their annual garlic fair. I am sure they had wild garlic too. Anyway, our son in law won the all you can eat garlic contest. The prize was more garlic. He was green and my daughter had to drive him home with the windows down. 🙂

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you very much, Zsuzsa. If you have woods nearby you might have some free wild garlic too! I suppose your son-in-law stopped eating garlic for at least a couple of days 😉

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