Thai Cashew Chicken

Thai Cashew Chicken

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See body of post for substitutions.

Ingredients for Stir Fry:

  • 1 to 2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips, marinated 30 minutes (see marinade, below)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup cashews, dry roasted, unsalted
  • 1 onion, sliced in half and then lengthwise
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 to four 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 4 or more thinly sliced red Thai chilies (I prefer one.)
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, pale section sliced and minced
  • 1/2 small-sized head cabbage or Chinese cabbage, quartered and then thinly (about 3/8″ to 1/2″ inch or so) sliced, or  equal amount of Bok Choy, sliced thinly
  • 3 to 4 stalks celery and leaves, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • stir fry sauce (below)
  • 4 to 5 green onions, sliced diagonally into 2-inch pieces

Marinade for the Chicken:

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Stir Fry Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons Mirin
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • pinch of white pepper


Mix ingredients for marinade: Add cornstarch to a bowl, slowly add in liquid ingredients, stirring well to dissolve cornstarch. Add chicken, toss to coat and marinate while preparing the rest of the ingredients for the meal.

Combine sauce ingredients, starting with cornstarch and blending in the same way. Taste sauce, and adjust to your liking. if you wish a bit more tang, add a bit more rice vinegar. If not salty enough, add a bit more fish sauce, and if you’d like it sweeter, a bit more sugar. Make a note for next time! Set aside. Cornstarch may thicken and settle at the bottom, stir before using.

In a large wok or frying pan, add oil. Heat to medium-high. Tilting to pool the oil at one edge if using a frying pan, add cashews, stirring constantly until lightly browned. Remove promptly and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Remove all but a tablespoon or two of the oil and reserve the portion you’ve removed.

Add chicken and cook, stirring, until it turns white and is just cooked through. Remove and set aside. Wipe the skillet or wok clean if necessary, and add a tablespoon of the reserved oil. Fry the garlic, chili and lemongrass (or lemon zest) over medium-high heat until fragrant.

Add mushrooms and onion, and continue to cook, two to three minutes. If the pan becomes too dry, add a little of the reserved oil. Add the cabbage and celery, turn the heat down to medium and cook until slightly wilted, stirring often, but still retains some crispness.

Add the sauce (remember to stir or whisk sauce before adding.) Continue stirring until the sauce boils and thickens slightly, one to two more minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust to taste. Immediately add the chicken back in with any accumulated juices along with the green onion. Toss and stir to combine. It is best to remove immediately from the skillet; it will continue to cook from residual heat.

Garnish with cashews and serve over rice.


Note: nutrition based on 6 servings using 12 ounces of chicken.


Keywords: Asian, Bargain Meal of the Week, Bok Choy, Cabbage, cashews, Chicken, Fish Sauce, Green Onion, Hot Peppers, Lemon, mushrooms, Nuts and Seeds, Rice, rice vinegar, Soy, Thai, thai chiles, Vinegar.

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