Cashew Chicken
July 20th, 2014 256 Comments

Cashew Chicken

Chinese Recipe: Cashew Chicken
Chinese Recipe: Cashew Chicken pictures (1 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
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256 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Jocelyn says:

    I have Rice Wine Vinegar. Can I use that in place of the Rice Wine?

  2. Rachel says:

    We had chicken in the freezer and my husband suggested Cashew Chicken. I found your recipe, and it was fantastic! I used the baking soda as you suggested, and the chicken tasted great! I love your website! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Margaret says:

    I have made this recipe a few times now. It is wonderful, the chicken is perfect every time. The sauce is lovely too, it is a perfect Cashew Chicken. Your site and recipes have made me want to cook more Asian dishes again. Thank you.

  4. Michelle says:

    I just wanted to tell you thank you so much for the cashew nut chicken recipe. My favorite Chinese restaurant (now gone) made a recipe almost identical to this one. A favorite I can now make at home. Love your website.

  5. Ma.Vic says:

    We are the Chinese food lovers, our weekdays will not be completed without Chinese food dinner or lunch.
    thank you so much for sharing your recipe, now I am sure we may not be going to Chinese Restaurant often as we usually do, because from now on,I will be the one prepare our meals. May God Bless You, and thank you so much of your kind heart by sharing us your excellent recipe.

    Highly Regards

    Ma.Vic from O’Fallon, IL

  6. Jill says:

    This was a good tasting recipe. I doubled the sauce and added fresh mushrooms.

  7. sarah says:

    i really hope this recipe tastes like the actually chicken and cashew that you buy from a chinese restaurant !

  8. Mina P says:

    I gotta say.. your tip about baking soda is the BEST and it works!!
    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe, I tried it and my husband devoured it. I made it again for a party and they all loved it. Looking forward to more =)

  9. lora says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe! I made this last night and it was delicious!!! I’ve tried several recipes from this website and this is one of my favorites!

  10. Lydia says:

    Hello Rasa,

    I grew up on asian/chinese food and love it! i have not tried to make this recipe yet but i must say it looks very good. Usually cashew/almond chicken is overpowered with celery and I myself do not like celery and will pick it out if i ever get this dish. What exactly does marinating the chicken in baking soda do? and is this a common practice in most asian chicken entrees?

    • Baking soda tenderizes the chicken meat. It’s what the restaurant use to treat their chicken. It works wonder but remember to rinse off the baking soda after the treatment.

  11. momo518 says:

    The best Cashew Chicken I have ever tasted. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. cyma says:

    delicious. Making more today. Very light not too greasy and the baking soda did make the chicken very smooth and tender.

  13. Simonne says:

    I made this last night, but didn’t add in green pepper.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe

  14. Nikki says:

    What an awesome recepie!!! Chicken really was great… Totally tender! Can’t wait to try it on other meats in some my other fave dishes. I actually could only find rice wine vinegar, so I used that, I was a little worried so I only marinated for about 10 mins and it seemed fine. But will try and find rice wine! Also, I couldn’t find corn starch, but a chef friend of mine said that corn starch is the same as corn flour, hope that’s right… It worked perfect so it must be.
    So greatly appreciate you sharing your great secrets & tips… I can’t wait to try your others fab recepies!!! Xx

    • Yes, corn starch is the same as corn flour. Rice wine vinegar is not the same as rice wine though. If you can’t find it, you can opt it out.

      • Simon says:

        Corn starch and flour is actually not the same. When thickening with flour it tends to give a much more raw and starchy flavor, and a corn starch suspension should be like syrup almost. Tried using tapioca starch instead? its actually giving a clearer look on the sauce and more silky look on the meat.

        Arrowroot is also a excellent cooking alternative.

        And if rice wine cannot be found, a dry sherry or a Japanese Saki will do the same trick, though it wont give the same extra little kick in the flavors as the Shao xing wine does. I cant get shaoxing here, so i need to import it from asian people i know.

        A golden tip. If you for example buy a wok or other equipment from a store such as the wok shop who ship internationally, ask them if they can get you some rice wine along the purchase there. They will in many cases be happy to help their customers:).

  15. Amy says:

    So I made this tonight and I have to say it turned out excellent, the chicken was so tender and amazing. The only changes I made was to cut out the extra sugar and I didn’t have oyster sauce on hand so I just added more soy sauce. I also added garlic both fresh and powdered, liberal salt, and mushrooms. As I’m not a fan of sugar and sweet with savory, the only sweetness came from this rice wine and plumb wine mixture I had, I couldn’t find just straight rice wine. I also added some dried red chili peppers to the veggies and it turned out savory and tiny bit spicy and completely amazing. Great recipe, I followed it exactly despite the substitutions and both my husband and I loved it so much, I will definitely make this again.

  16. Cheryl says:

    Thankyou for this wonderful recipe. The baking soda is such a good tip. I didn’t have any rice wine so i just used a white wine to substitute and it still turned out fantastic! The ginger made it so aromatic and I normally don’t like green capsicum but I really loved it in this meal. Chicken cashew is now one of my top favourites.

  17. Madlyn Cole says:

    How do I find really flavorful Chinese recipes that I can make at home? I love Chinese food, but according to your posts, I haven’t really had authentic Chinese food in America. Help me find recipes for some. Thanks.
    I’m also interested in Dim Sum. I love to do appetizers and dim sum are wonderful. Need really good recipes.

  18. Nat says:

    Thanx so much for the recipe and very useful tips.I dont know much about cooking asian dishes, therefore I have concern that I might not get the sauce right because of small units of measure I.e. 1/8 table spoon. Also I have seen that in some recipes peanut oil is suggested for trying, or is vegetable oil better? And my last question (sorry):is this dish hot (having pepper in it) or do u suggest putting some chillis in if I want it a bit spicy? I have tried chicken cashew dish in one restourant and it was really nice and slighly spicy/ hot,not too much,just a bit.Thanx again for everything:)

  19. van says:

    yumsss. the baking soda really made the chicken qq

  20. Loch Teal says:

    My wife really loves cashew chicken in red sauce. i’m haveing trouble finding it. can you please help

  21. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much! This was just as good, if not better from my local restaurant. My whole family – children (3 yrs & 8 yrs) included loved this dish! Baking soda – WOW! I am looking to see if you have a vegetable Tofu now…I hope so.

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  25. lilian says:

    Would baking powder be an alternative to baking soda?

  26. Bret Clancy says:

    When you explain the marinate in your directions, are saying to marinate with baking soda first? Because usually a marinate requires liquid. To rub and coat would be more appropriate for the baking soda then the cornstarch and rice wine are the marinate. Do I have the process correct? That the two are seperate processes?

  27. Daniel oon says:

    hi there! i’m currently studying in the States and every time i miss home cooked food i would visit your blog and randomly select one of your recipes. i can’t tell you enough how amazing your blog is. thanks for making homesickness that much more bearable:)

  28. shareena says:

    I love this recipe! at one point, I was making this dish for 2 days in a row.. even my bf loves it! its such a keeper!!! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and others as well!!

  29. Rae says:

    I made this tonight for the first time. I did everything according to your recipe and it came out delicious! The chicken was so tender and the sauce was light but flavorful. It was amazing! I bet it will even tempt my hubby to eat veggies. :)

    Thank you for the recipe, tips, and beautiful photography. I favorited your blog!


  30. lilian says:

    I bought sodium bicarbonate. Is this the same as baking soda? According to google the shortened form for baking soda is sodium bicarbornate/bicarb soda/bicarb. i hope i bought the right thing. =/

  31. Yolanda says:

    I love the ingredients for this recipe but the measurements seem to be off. Can you change the recipe for say 4-6 people and then let us know the measurements then. Some sites even have a serving generator that will change the recipe for you based on how many people you’re cooking for…otherwise I had to improvise which still turns out good.

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  34. sakinah says:

    what can I use to subtitute the rice wine? Something non-alchoholic. Thank you.

  35. Lou says:

    Hi, how many does this dish serve? Can’t wait to try it out. Thanks :)

  36. Cathi says:

    I’m going to try this recipe tonight. I’m a little confused by the writing of the recipe, so it wouldn’t surprise me if others need clarity as well. When it says “marinate chicken with the baking soda”, it just means sprinkle chicken with baking soda, let rest for 20 minutes, rinse. Baking soda should not be grouped in to the “Marinate” section of the recipe…doing so implies all three ingredients (baking soda, corn starch and rice wine) are mixed together to form a marinade. That is not so, according to the vague first step of the recipe! In the second step of the recipe it says to “marinate with the rest of the ingredients”. At first I thought this to mean the sauce, but it means to marinate the chicken with the rice wine and cornstarch.

    I’m good with recipes too. This one isn’t written well for someone who needs to follow a recipe closely (not me), so hopefully my comments will help someone. I know my mother in law would botch this one if going by the recipe! Haha.

    Thank you, and I will let you know how it turns out. Lovely photos…that is why I am trying this recipe because pretty pictures + food is where my heart lies!

  37. Cathi says:

    Totally amazed and impressed with what the baking soda soak does to the chicken. Silky is the perfect way to describe it, besides YUM!

    I’ll admit that I made the recipe with celery instead of green pepper purely out of preference, and added two cloves pressed garlic to the sauce. I also doubled the sauce and used two large chicken breasts (1.3 pounds). It fed our family of four (two toddlers) with a bit left over.

    Thank you!

  38. Jen says:

    Wow! This was spectacular. I used to get cashew chicken when I was growing up at our favorite Chinese spot, but nothing has ever lived up to it. This was even better!! The baking soda trick is a good one. Thank you so much! Will be trying many more of your recipes.

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  40. Sheri says:

    Eating you recipe as I speak. Fantastic!

  41. so for further clarification you want me to sprinkle the baking soda on the meat and let it sit for 15 minutes.
    Next rinse it off and pat dry and THEN put the wine and cornstarch on for the second 15 minute marinate time?

  42. danielli says:

    My husband licked the plate clean! Loved it too. Easy and yummy. I added a dash of Maggi at the end. Next time, I will add some dry chilis, it will take it to the next level, in my opinion.

  43. steve says:

    Would I use the sodium Bicarbonate method with prawns so they are the same as the chinese restaurants?

  44. Nik Linda says:

    I look great & yummy. It’ll be served for dinner tonight. Thank you for sharing the recipe and promoting Malaysian dishes.

    Well done & good luck to you…

  45. Lala says:

    Rasa Malaysia, thank you for all your recipes!
    Cathi and Susan Patrick Harris, thanks for the clarification on the recipe. I had the same questions in my mind while reading it. At first, didn’t know what to do with the baking soda whether to add it separately or to mix it with the rice wine and cornstarch, now it’s all clear I can start cooking this wonderful dish.

  46. Justine says:

    Rasa Malaysia, I noticed that with the same recipe, you do add chinese rice wine/sherry. I am staying in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I couldn’t get the chinese rice wine/sherry which is shown in your cookbook even in the big wet market. Where can I get it? Is there any substitute?

  47. Valerie says:

    This was sooooo good! Much, much better than the cashew chicken at the Chinese Take Out joint. I accidentally used too much corn starch, so it was indeed really sticky but that wasn’t so bad. I would add the cashews at the end next time for more crunch. OH and the chicken was just as silky as you said. So much fun to eat! Thank you for this recipe!

  48. Si-Anne says:

    Hi i was just wondering if this dish usually has garlic in it or if garlic can be added??

  49. kathy says:

    You stated to marinate in your directions the chicken, are saying to marinate with baking soda first and only baking soda? Because usually a marinate requires liquid. Or just rub and coat it with bakind soda then clean it thoroughly? a little confused with that.

    • Yes, only baking soda, you can add some water if you want, to dissolve the baking soda. In Asian cooking, marinade doesn’t need liquid as many spices are dry spices with no liquid.

  50. kate says:

    Hi! I wanted to cook this for a party with friends. Then I found out that one of them is allergic to everything seafood and this recipe calls for oyster sauce. What would be a good substitute for it?

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