Spicy Cashew Chicken – easy and delicious chicken with cashew nuts with just the right amount of spicy heat. Takes 20 mins to make and much better than takeout.
Originally published on Sep 1, 2010. Updated with new photos.
I love Thai food. However, a lot of Thai recipes that I like are basically Chinese in origin, with local influences, which add an exciting layer of taste structure to the originals. There are many examples: Rad Na, Pad See Ew, and in this case, cashew chicken. In Chinese cuisine, these dishes are prepared the Chinese way, but the Thai versions are flavored with fish sauce or other local seasoning sauces such as sweet soy sauce, spices (yes!), chilies, and slightly varied ingredients. The end results are always delicious, sometimes more delicious than the Chinese equivalents.
I always appreciate the local touch, which make good recipes even better!This spicy cashew chicken is adapted from my favorite Thai cookbook “Thai Cooking Made Easy.” This variation of spicy cashew chicken is also popular in Southeast Asia. In fact, it’s one of my favorite chicken dishes whenever I eat out at local hot stir-fries stalls or restaurants when I am home in Malaysia. To me, it’s the local interpretation of Chinese cashew chicken and Kung Pao Chicken, combined into this mouthwatering spicy Thai cashew chicken.
I know a lot of you love the spicy cashew chicken at Cheesecake Factory but I will assure you that my spicy cashew chicken tastes MUCH better than the sweetened up version they offer. It’s savory, with just the right amount of heat, and the perfect balance of flavors, making it such a delight with steamed white rice.
The best thing of all, it’s super easy to make, takes just about 20 minutes from prep to dinner table. Fire up your wok or skillet, try my spicy cashew chicken recipe and you will soon add it to your dinner rotation.
Serves 2 | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 5 Minutes
2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, cut into halves
6-8 finger-length dried red chilies, seeded and cut into halves
1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts, rinsed and drained
8 oz chicken, cut into small cubes
1 scallion, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-in lengths
1 teaspoon regular soy sauce (or Maggi seasoning sauce / Golden Mountain sauce)
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar or to taste
2 tablespoons water
Heat up a wok and add the oil. When the oil is heated, add the garlic, onion, dried red chilies and stir-fry until fragrant or when you smell the spicy aroma of the chilies. Add the cashew nuts and follow with the chicken. Stir-fry the chicken until the surface turns opaque. Add all the ingredients for the Sauce into the wok and continue to stir-fry until the chicken is cooked. Stir-in the scallion, dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.
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