Chinese Cashew Chicken
There are many recipes online, but I am going to teach you the best homemade and authentic Chinese cashew chicken recipe that tastes just like takeout from the best Chinese restaurants.
The secret to becoming an expert on this recipe lies in the silky velveting techniques of the chicken and the sauce. Master those and you won’t need takeout again, believe me.
How to Make Cashew Chicken “Silky”
If you have been to a good Chinese restaurant, you would notice that the chicken is extremely tender and silky smooth – almost velvety. Yes, most Chinese chefs “treat” the chicken with baking soda.
Baking soda removes the potential “meaty” odor from the meat and tenderizes at the same time (learn all about it in my Cook’s Note). Pairing the velvety chicken with crunchy cashew nuts adds texture and tastes absolutely delicious.
Cashew Chicken Sauce
What kind of sauce is used? Like most Chinese stir-fry, the sauce is a Chinese brown sauce that is made of oyster sauce, soy sauce, water (or chicken broth) and sugar.
For authentic flavors, sesame oil, ground white pepper and Chinese rice wine are also used to make the sauce. Lastly, corn starch is added to thicken up this traditional sauce.
Tips for the Best Cashew Chicken
- Use chicken breasts for the best result.
- Do not skimp on the cashews – include loads of cashew nuts.
- The brown sauce is the soul of this dish, so get the best quality Chinese soy sauce and oyster sauce.
- Add red or green bell peppers and cook in a wok or skillet. Make some steamed rice to go with it and you don’t need Chinese takeout ever again!
What Dishes to Serve with this Recipe?
For a wholesome Chinese meal and easy weeknight dinner at home, I recommend the following recipes.
How Many Calories Per Serving?
This recipe is only 515 calories per serving.
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- 10 oz. (300 g) boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 5 slices peeled ginger
- 1 small red or green bell pepper, cut into small squares
- 1/2 cup unsalted cashew nuts
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine, optional
- Rinse the chicken breast with cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Cut the chicken into cubes and marinate with corn starch and rice wine (if using). Mix all the ingredients for the Sauce together. Set aside.
- Heat up a wok or skillet with 1 tablespoon of the oil and stir-fry the chicken until they turn white (not bot completely cooked). Dish out and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil into the wok or skillet and add the ginger and bell pepper. Stir-fry until you smell the peppery aroma from the peppers, then add the chicken back in. Stir in the Sauce and toss and stir fry continuously until the chicken is cooked and the sauce thickens. Add salt to taste.
- Add the cashew nuts and do a few quick stirs. Dish out and serve immediately with steamed rice.
To make the chicken extremely tender like Chinese restaurants, you may use 1 tablespoon of baking soda to tenderize the chicken. In a bowl, add the baking soda to the chicken. Use a spoon to mix well so the baking soda coats the chicken evenly. Leave on for 5 minutes before rinsing the chicken off with cold water. Make sure you rinse the chicken well so there is no residue on the chicken. Pat dry with paper towels before marinating with corn starch and rice wine.
Serving Size2 people
Amount Per Serving Calories 515Total Fat 34gSaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 91mgSodium 421mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 37g