Vintage Sacramento: Nut Tree Almond Chicken


For Christmas, my sister-in-law gave her dad a set of one-on-one cooking lessons. (Tiffany is, by the way, an amazing cook and author of the blog Lunchability.) Yesterday she posted a photo of their latest creation on Facebook, a tasty-looking almond chicken. She said she was aiming for the Nut Tree Almond Chicken and I admitted to having the recipe. The Nut Tree, a Sacramento-area historical landmark, is special to the Redden clan. From Mr. T I’ve heard stories of flying in for the day, riding the train, and of course, eating the almond chicken. A couple years ago, he hunted up the recipe and made it for me. Although I’d never been to the restaurant, I could see the appeal. If I were to recreate the dish, I would definitely add red pepper for some heat, but it’s also tasty on its own. Enjoy!

NSFD ranking: *-**

Nut Tree Almond Chicken
From: “The Sacramento Cookery Book: The Culinary Heritage of California’s Capital” by Sally A. Clifford


  • 1.5 pounds chicken breasts, boned
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil
  • 2 cups celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup bamboo shoots, chopped
  • 1 cup water chestnuts, sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 pound sugar peas
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 pound French-fried blanched almonds plus extra almonds for topping

1. Cut chicken in 3/4-inch cubes. Brown quickly in hot oil in a large skillet.
2. Add next 5 ingredients, cover, and cook about 7 minutes.
3. Scatter sugar peas on top, cover, and cook five minutes.
4. Add soy sauce. Mix cornstarch and water; add to skillet and cook, stirring, just until mixture is slightly thickened and glazed.
5. Sprinkle with almonds and serve. Pass soy sauce and extra almonds. Serve with molded cooked rice and fresh orange slices.


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