Cashew Chicken Recipe (腰果鸡丁)
August 09th, 2008 256 Comments

Cashew Chicken Recipe (腰果鸡丁)

Chinese Recipe: Cashew Chicken
Chinese Recipe: Cashew Chicken pictures (2 of 4)

(Popular and All-Time Favorite Chinese recipesBroccoli Beef, Sweet and Sour Pork, Egg Drop Soup, Kung Pao Chicken, Chow Mein, Fried Rice, Orange Chicken, Mongolian Beef, and more.)

To celebrate the Beijing Olympics, I am going to share some of the most popular Chinese recipes with you in the next two weeks.

While Chinese recipes are often featured here on Rasa Malaysia, I mostly share my favorite Chinese dishes—meaning those that I enjoy eating—with my readers. A simple Google search of the most popular Chinese food in the United States returns the following results:

  1. Broccoli Beef
  2. Sweet and Sour Pork
  3. Cashew Chicken
  4. Crab Rangoon
  5. Egg Drop Soup
  6. Moo Goo Gai Pan
  7. Chow Mein
  8. Fried Rice
  9. Kung Pao Chicken
  10. Egg Roll

As a Chinese, I have to say that this is not the most interesting list. In fact, some of the dishes are not even real Chinese, for example: Moo Goo Gai Pan. (Most of the dishes on the list are American-Chinese food, made popular by the Chinese restaurants in the United States. They are what general Americans know as Chinese food.)

Chinese cuisine—when done right—is pleasing, subtle, delicate, satisfying, and a great treat to the taste buds. However, most Chinese restaurants in the United States have pretty much butchered Chinese food and turned one of the greatest cuisines in the world into something vaguely recognizable—gooey, starchy, sticky, greasy, and downright unappetizing—one that is certain to leave a bad taste in the mouth of many diners.

Cashew Chicken(腰果鸡丁)

Since most of my readers are Americans, I thought I would share with you the correct way of making these popular dishes. Today, I teach you the proper way of making Cashew Chicken—a very popular eat-in and take-out dish at Chinese restaurants in the United States.

The key to a great Chinese stir-fried chicken dish is simple: smooth and tender chicken meat lightly coated with a sauce, stir-fried over HIGH heat using a wok to achieve the breath of wok. To get the breath of wok, you can buy the cookbook here and learn the techniques. To make the chicken tender, I am going to share with you a secret–one that is used by many restaurants and Chinese chefs—BAKING SODA.

Baking soda serves two purposes:

  1. to rid the chicken of any potential smell (I am sure you have had bad experiences eating chicken with a foul chicken-y odor,
  2. to tenderize the meat. Just by looking at my pictures, you can tell that those chicken breast cubes are silky and tender. For the detailed instructions, please follow my Cashew Chicken recipe below.

SECRET TECHNIQUE: BAKING SODA is the secret weapon to make any meat—chicken, beef, pork–tender.

Anyway, once you try out my Cashew Chicken recipe, I am sure you will never go back to the gooey, sticky, starchy Cashew Chicken from your neighborhood Chinese joints again, and you will again enjoy authentic Chinese recipes.


Chow Mein Broccoli Beef Sweet and Sour Pork Egg Drop Soup
Chow Mein Broccoli Beef Sweet and Sour Pork Egg Drop Soup
Kung Pao Chicken Cashew Chicken Fried Rice Orange Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken Cashew Chicken Fried Rice Orange Chicken
Crab Rangoon Mongolian Beef
Crab Rangoon Mongolian Beef
Click Page 2 for the Cashew Chicken Recipe (腰果鸡丁) Recipe
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256 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Manggy says:

    Looks good! That’s one of my mom’s favorites :)

  2. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says:

    I’ve read this about baking soda, and mentioned in a recent post that I’d never tried it. But now you have shown me the way, and as I love Cashew Chicken, I’ll try pre-marinating with the baking soda. Thanks!

  3. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    Baking soda, eh? See, these are the secrets that we are not privy to — thanks for sharing.

    LOL Some of those dishes on the list I’ve never even heard of, but that is what passes for Chinese food sometimes.

  4. Owlhaven says:

    This looks really yummy. I’m going to take some chicken out of the freezer to thaw for tomorrow’s dinner right now.

    Mary, mom to 10

  5. worldwindows says:

    Thanks for the tip on baking soda. I have my fair share of eating “chicken with a foul chicken-y odor.”

  6. FAL says:

    A stunning picture as usual!

    Ok before you start ripping on chinese food in the States, i do have to say that there are a lot of chinese restaurants that serve authentic chinese food, especially in the major cities.

    Personally, i usually just go around the chinese restaurants in philadelphia’s chinatown on a sunday and look to see which restaurant has the most chinese families in it. That’s a very good indicator for me about authenticity. I’ve run across my share of good and bad restaurants, but that can be applied to any type of cuisine.

    I would never have thought about using baking soda, i’m definitely going to try this the next time i have chicken. Thanks for posting the recipe and the stunning picture.

  7. wmw says:

    My fave is still the Kung Po style, cos of the dried chillies!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing.

  9. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Lydia – yep, baking soda that is! Just rinse your chicken really clean and you will get that smooth, silky, tender (yet elastic) texture. :)

  10. Paula says:

    This looks terrific! I’m so glad you posted this as we are planning one celebrating the foods of China this week! We are also celebrating the Olympics through food. I agree that baking soda works wonders as a tenderizer. Love this post! Yum!

  11. Ellie @ Kitchen Wench says:

    That looks amazing! I absolutely love cashew chicken, good to now have a recipe so I can try it myself! Plus, thanks for the tip on the baking soda, can’t wait to try it out!

  12. Fearless Kitchen says:

    This looks great. I’m a little surprised by the baking soda – I have to see how this works for myself!

  13. Deborah says:

    I have been craving Chinese food, and this looks like it would hit the spot!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    If using baking soda on BEEF or PORK, does one use the same method as the chicken, that is, sprinkle it on, leave for 10-15 mins. then wash it off before marinating the meat

  15. GirlCanBake says:

    What a great post! The photos are just lovely! I love Cashew Chicken. Something about the crunch of the nuts in just irresistible! I know what’s for dinner tonight!

  16. Kevin says:

    That looks nice and fresh and vibrant and good!

  17. Anonymous says:

    yes!i hve learn another trick baking soda….thanks
    BTW i’ve try your pie tee recipe…
    yeah… is a great sucess for 1st timer…all 80 pie tee was gone within few minutes…
    Frying the shell is time cosuming but results well paid!
    How long can the shell stored?


  18. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Anonymous – correct, once you marinate the meat–chicken, pork, or beef–with baking soda, you rinse it off with water before other seasonings. The steps can be found at the Recipe section of this post. Thanks!

  19. Claude-Olivier says:

    i’m sure that i will love your cashew nut chicken..i can smell it here ;-) very nice photos, comme toujours! Cheers

  20. Evimeinar says:

    “greasy, and downright unappetizing”

    Those are what I mostly taste in Chinese restaurants in Canada too.

  21. Leen Lopez says:

    I’m from Malaysia too and now living in KY and you’re darn right about the Chinese food here. Our Malaysian chinese food are 100x better than the American Chinese Food which is bland and BLAH lol

  22. The Expedited Writer says:

    Baking Soda is an interesting tenderizer. I tried it yesterday on my normal stir fry chicken with some oyster sauce it was spectacularly tender!

    I wonder if you know what is the science behind it. Does the baking soda loosen the strands of tough tissues on the meat or what?

  23. Paula says:

    Just a follow up message to let you know that I provided a link to your marvelous recipe in my blog post dated 8/13/08. I just love your food, and learn so much from your posts. (I did try to send this msg to you via email, but my system keeps hanging.)

  24. Becky says:

    such a classic dish and yet so good! i never had an exact recipe since my mom would basically make it from memory/sight. thank you!

  25. Hilda says:

    I tried this recipe for dinner tonight and Im eating the chicken as i write this comment. The baking soda really makes a difference to the texture of the chicken. The recipe for the cashew chicken is fantastic as well. From now on, Ill be trying to use baking soda whenever I can! Thanks

  26. msiagirl says:

    I tried the baking soda and it made a great difference to the chicken! YUMM! Thank you for sharing. I have to confess i put dried chillies in the cashew chicken, I couldn’t help it. :)

  27. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe! I made it this past weekend and it was a huge hit with me and with my husband. I love the more subtle taste and the consistency of the chicken due to the baking soda marinade. The only substitution I made was using roasted peanuts instead of cashews just because the cashews we had in the pantry were already salted and I find they tend to get a little mushy in food.

  28. LB says:

    Hey there,
    I feel like I owe it to you to say , ” Thank you” for putting so many of my local cravings at rest. :)
    I have been reading and trying out your recipes for erm…a year and half now, and each time, with great success!
    I was just wondering if you would know of a local Malay snack called, ” kerepek ubi pedas”?. I have been trying to find an accurate recipe for it.
    Anyway, thank you again for doing what you do, coz’ you do it best!

  29. Adriana says:

    This cashew chicken looks so good! I will try to make it using your cashew chicken recipe. Thank you for sharing the tips.

  30. Anonymous says:

    your cashew chicken looks yummy :)and i would definetly love to try them…but is there any other substitute for rice wine , as am very sure that we’l not get them ,here in the middle-east .

  31. Anonymous says:

    I made this for dinner tonight and my family LOVED it. This taste just like the yummy Asian food I get in Singapore. I have tried a few of your recipes and they all turned out great. Thank you!

  32. Shermaine says:

    Great recipe and easy to follow steps! I tried it as a last minute dish (without cashew nuts) and still turned out great!
    I also used your pak soy recipe! Nice too!
    My fiance loves the dishes! Going to try your other dishes like kung po and chicken satay!

    Your pics are very well taken!

  33. beth says:

    I made this tonight and it was amazing. Thanks so much for the recipe and the baking soda tip. It made a huge difference in the tenderness of the chicken!

  34. Anonymous says:

    No garlic? I gotta have garlic in my stir fry.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I tried this, but the chicken lacks a more slaty flavor. any advice on how to achieve this? I can add much salt and the chicken breasts is still kinda flavorless.

  36. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Anonymous – to add flavors, you can add more oyster sauce.

    • billlock says:

      Rasa I live in Australia and I don’t know were to I buy white pepper powder and rice wine ? Woolworths sell Rice wine Vinegar and the ‘Saxa’ pepper white. Are these the same ?

      • No, you can get both at Asian stores in AU.

        • Nimi says:

          Actually white pepper comes from the same ‘black’ pepper. they only differ in processing. fresh ripe pepper is soaked in water for a month to get rid of the outer skin before being dried, but the black one skip this process. so if you are desperate, black pepper can still do, but use the fine milled one (hence the powdered form).

  37. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the advice. I bookmarked this website. I try to pat it dry. I figured out that baking soda technique is the main key to everything. At least now i can make a velvety texture without using too much oil and the eggwhite and cornflour technique;)

    For the sauce I tweaked it a bit. I used 3 tbsp of chicken stock, 1 tbsp oystersauce, 1/2 soy sauce (kimlan), a pinch of white pepper, 1/2 tbsp of sugar,1 tbsp of shao xing and few drops of sesame oil.

    I love the fact that you stay away from MSG:)

  38. Gemma says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful secrets, this will ever be my favorite site. I’m new cook and this really helped me a lot.

  39. Yur Maker says:

    I have been using the baking soda for years in My buffalo chicken wings.
    I Brine Soak the chicken wings in chicken stock and baking soda.
    Most tender wings I have ever had.
    Baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate) is weakly alkaline. As such, it neutralizes the acids and breaks down the proteins. This accounts for its usefulness as a tenderizer. It also is baking soda’s neutralizing effect on acidic scent molecules that makes it a deodorizer.
    Baking soda also has other uses. Baking soda is a very effective meat tenderizer. It can be added to stews or rubbed directly on meat, and then rinsed off before cooking, to make the meat more tender.

  40. purplerose says:

    hi..i like ur food photography very in the process of learning..
    how do you achieve such beautiful lighting effect?

  41. purplerose says:

    yeah?i ought to try dat too..but need some furniture arrangement to achieve that effect.hehe well, i made this for lunch today,evryone at home loved it!just to try something Chinese this wikend..(minus the rice wine and sesame oil..)for the first time, i tried using baking soda to tenderize the chicken.useful tip! kam sia..

  42. momofavre says:

    Great recipe! I made it without the green peper and onion. I used water chestnuts and celery. My family all liked it. I doubled the recipe and the sauce. Next time I will triple the sauce as my kids would have liked the rice a little wetter. I did not use rice wine as I do not have it. What is it anyway?

    • Thanks for trying this cashew chicken recipe. I am glad your family enjoyed it. Rice wine is typical Chinese cooking wine, found in all Asian grocery stores.

    • Simon says:

      The brand is usually named Shaoxing. Its usually labeled “Hua tiao chiew” and the bottle normally has a red label. A good dry sherry can also be substitution if shaoxing can’t be found. But using the shaoxing wine is preferable and gives a more authentic touch.

  43. lover of all food says:

    Thanks for the great recipes, I think I will try a new one everyday next week! The baking soda is a new one for me, I often wondered how restaurants were able to get their meats so tender and I wasn’t that lucky. Now I know. Is there a per pound ratio? Or do you just sprinkle to cover? So glad I stumbled onto your website!
    Thank you.

    • Glad you enjoyed this cashew chicken recipes and others as well. There is not a ratio for baking soda vs meat. Sprinkling to cover is just fine. But too much will definitely “over-tenderized” and the chicken will lose its texture completely. Beware :)

  44. Julian says:

    OMG! I tried this recipe yesterday and I would say it was the greatest success. Chicken had never tasted so tender and so good. Thanks soooooo much.

    I also tried the asparagus with sambal recipe. It turned out nice but the trouble of pounding the chillies and other ingredients in a mortar is not worth it. Spent more than an hour to do the pounding and had the fire in my fingers for next couple of hours (silly me for not putting on gloves). Pheww! However I would do it again when I get my food processor.

  45. joyce says:

    my company they really like the cashews chicken…alots of compliments….thnk you very much…

  46. Samantha says:

    Thanks for this, the recipe totally worked! The chicken did get very tender, I hadn’t thought it would work out for me! It all looked and tasted very professional Thanks!

    • Samantha – baking soda is a magic powder!!

      • Samantha says:

        I totally agree! I didn’t time it though and it turned out perfectly, I’m making it for some friends this week and now I’m worried I’ll leave it on too long or not long enough and it will go wrong! I’ll time 15-20 and hope it works.

  47. kl_changs says:

    Panic-ing rite now. Not sure what to do with my chicken tonight. Thank goodness i found this recipe. And the comments are all positive : )

    Got a stupid question, Bee. Do u use raw cashews?

  48. kl_changs says:

    Yummy dish, Bee! Just finished a very enjoyable dinner : )

    Thx *muak*

  49. Kay says:

    This is delicious! I made this tonight and loved the baking soda technique! My 1 year old who had never cared for chicken even gobbled this up!! Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes!! I love this website!

  50. Tanya says:

    Yum the Cashew Chicken looks so good!…If this tastes as good as it looks, I’ll be in heaven. Can’t wait to make this, thanks for the delicious recipe.

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