This Thai Cashew Chicken Stir Fry is our favourite one-wok chicken dinner! Golden nuggets of chicken tossed in a seriously addictive sweet sauce, and flavoured with sweet dried chilies and lots of green onion. Of course, the crunchy golden cashew nuts are where this dish gets its famous name- and boy are they good!
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I worked for years as a head chef in Israels top kosher Thai restaurant- Kapao Thai food. The owner of the business, a dear friend of mine, studied authentic Thai cooking in Thailand. He was obsessed with Thai food!! We didn’t even have knifes available for diners because – he said- in Thailand you don’t eat with a knife. LOL. I definitly got some knifes up in the joint.
We had lots of authentic Thai food- from Spicy Green Curry and Phad Thai, to Phad Kapao and tapioca, but this dish was one of the most popular- and my favourite!
In Thai, cashew chicken stir fry is called Gai Pad Med Mamuang.
You’ll love this recipe for Thai Cashew Chicken because:
There is extra sauce to flavour all your rice! The best part!! The sweet sauce for this dish is made of pantry friendly ingredients- more suitable to the home cook than restaurant chef. We use soy sauce and hoisin sauce as the base, and add rice vinegar, sugar, and brown sugar.
Why two types of sugar?
Traditionally, cashew chicken recipes call for tamarind, a tangy condiment very popular in Thai cooking- used also in Pad Thai. Most home cooks I know(aka everyone) don’t have this in the house, so to substitute it we use vinegar and brown sugar. The white sugar caramelises a bit and gives extra sweetness to our dish.
What else is in this dish?
To begin making cashew chicken, you need lots of garlic! SO MANY Thai dishes start off by sautéing garlic in your wok, just until fragrant, before adding the chicken. We’ll cook the chicken until slightly crispy, add our sauce, as well as a couple sweet dried peppers. Don’t worry these aren’t spicy at all, but they add an extra layer of flavour, so don’t skip them. I buy mine in the local spice store and as they are usually sold in a big bag, I don’t have to stock up often!
Don’t have a wok? Now is the time! I recommend this Lodge Cast Iron Wok on Amazon.
Roast the cashews: There is a popular method of frying cashews before adding them to your wok, but I find that roasting gives the same golden color and crunchy bite, with less oil. You add them at the end, when your stir fry is about to be finished, along with a handful of sliced green onion.
You’ll love how easy this dish is to prepare, how fast it all comes together, and what little clean up there is after!
Need more dinner ideas? Check out our favourites:
Last TIP: Prep all the ingredients for your cashew chicken before beginning.
Chop the onions, dice the scallions, get out your sauce ingredients- then all you have to do is throw it into the wok!
I hope you love our Thai Cashew Chicken Stir Fry! We would love to see you on Instagram, where everyone shares their favourite photos- seriously my favourite thing to see!! Enjoy this and happy cooking!
Thai Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry
- 2-3 Tbs oil
- 1 Tbs garlic, minced (4-5 cloves)
- 3-4 chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 medium sweet dried peppers
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 3 Tbs green onion, thinly sliced
- 3 Tbs soy sauce
- 21/2 Tbs hoisin sauce
- 2 Tbs water
- 1 1/2 Tbs white sugar
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp water(for the cornstarch)
- Get out two small bowls. In one, mix rice vinegar with brown sugar and stir to dissolve sugar. In the second, add 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 tsp water, and stir to dissolve cornstarch. Set both aside. Heat up a wok or large frying pan with 2 Tbs oil, add the garlic, and saute until fragrant, about a minute. Add the cubed chicken and cook until cooked through.
- +While the chicken is cooking, place the cashews on a baking sheet and roast for 7 minutes at 350 F(175 C).
- Add onions to the chicken . Rip each sweet pepper into three pieces over the wok, and add all 6 pieces, tossing to combine.
- Straight to the wok, add soy sauce, hoisin sauce, water, sugar, and the rice vinegar with the brown sugar. Toss to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add cornstarch mixed with water, and toss. To finish, throw in the toasted cashews and green onions and cook for another 30 seconds, tossing continuously. Serve over jasmine rice. ENJOY!!!