In this post, you’re going to learn how to make an authentic Thai cashew chicken recipe, that has amazing flavor, and that’s surprisingly quick and easy to make.
It’s a famous dish in Thailand, and now you can make it at home!
This Thai cashew chicken recipe is from my friend Hanuman and featured in his 49 Classic Thai Stir Fry Dishes recipe ebook.
Quick note on cashew chicken
Before we get into this recipe, I just have to quickly share something with you.
I’m a huge fan of Thai cashew chicken, but in Thailand I very rarely order it.
Because it’s one of those dishes that’s very hit or miss. Oftentimes if you order it at any random street food stall in Thailand, it comes as a few pieces of chicken and cashew nuts, in a lumpy sweet and sour sauce.
But the version I love, which you’ll occasionally find in Thailand at nighttime Thai Chinese stir fry restaurants, which is crunchy, and salty, and full of caramelized onions and crispy cashews, is the version I really love.
This recipe will show you the authentic latter version, no shortcuts, but still very easy and quick to make, with ingredients you can probably find at your local supermarket.
Ingredients you’ll need
One of the great things about this Thai cashew chicken recipe is that the ingredients are pretty basic, and you should be able to find just about everything you need any at local supermarket.
- 200 grams chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tbsp. cassava flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup natural taste cooking oil (I used sunflower oil for frying everything)
- 1 tbsp. garlic, crushed and chopped (I used about 4 cloves)
- 1/2 cup yellow onions, sliced into wedges (I used 1 small onion)
- 1/3 cup dry Thai birds eye red chilies, deep fried
- 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashew nuts
- 1/3 cup fresh long red chili peppers, thinly julienned (I used red spur chilies)
- 1/3 cup fresh banana chili peppers, cut in thin strips
- 1/3 cup green onions (spring onions), cut in 2.5 cm pieces
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp. dark soy sauce (I used sweet dark soy sauce, you can use kecap manis)
- 1/2 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
- pinch of salt
- pinch of sugar
- 3 tbsp. stock or water
Again, this recipe is directly from 49 Classic Thai Stir Fry Dishes which is an amazing recipe book.
Once you have all the ingredients prepared, all you have to do is quickly deep fry the chicken, cashew nuts, and dry chilies, set them all aside separately, and then stir fry the entire mixture together. But getting the steps right will ensure you have the best tasting Thai cashew chicken.
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If you want to get straight to the directions, you can scroll down to the recipe box below. Otherwise keep reading for more photos and personal details.
The first step in this Thai cashew chicken recipe is to mix the sauce ingredients. Put everything in a bowl, stir it up, and leave it aside for later.
For the sauce, it’s up to you how much sugar you want to add, I just added in a tiny pinch and it was perfect for me.
Dice up the chicken into bite sized pieces, and mix it with a spoon of flour. Make sure all the chicken is evenly coated, and not caked on anywhere.
In order to use the same oil to fry the cashew nuts, dry chilies, and chicken, yet all separately, I first fried the raw cashew nuts.
Add about 1/3 of a cup of oil (I used sunflower oil) to a wok or pan on a medium heat, and fry the cashews until they turn golden brown.
This will take shorter than you think, it took me only about 1 minute. And you have to be careful, they are kind of like French fries, if you see them turning golden you need to take them out of the oil immediately, or they will burn fast. Drain the cashew nuts and set them aside.
The Thai dry chilies are also very quick to deep fry (more like shallow fry).
You want to toss them in the hot oil and fry them for only about a minute, stirring continually. You’ll see them turn crispy, and make sure you watch them close and take them out of the oil before they burn.
Next, fry the chicken cubes.
I fried the chicken for about 5 minutes or so, until they turned nice and golden crispy on the outside. Then drain the chicken and set it aside.
At this stage of making this Thai cashew chicken recipe, you should have all your vegetables chopped up and ready to go, the chicken, cashew nuts, dry fried chilies, and sauce mixture.
Now you’re ready to stir fry everything together.
First, add about 1/2 tbsp. of oil to your wok or frying pan and wait for it to heat up.
Then toss in your garlic, stir fry for about 10 seconds, and then add in the onions. Stir fry for a few seconds until the onions become translucent.
Then add in the fresh green and red chilies. At this stage, you can add in a few sprinkles of water if your wok is getting dry, but don’t add too much water.
Grab you seasoning sauce mixture, and add it to the wok. Keep stir frying and you’ll see that the sauce quickly begins to thicken and get sticky from the oyster sauce and dark sweet soy sauce.
Once the sauce is thick and sticky, add in the chicken, cashew nuts, and dried chilies, and gently stir fry, making sure all the sauce evenly coats all ingredients.
You don’t need to stir fry for very long, just a couple minutes max. If it gets too dry, you can add a sprinkle of water.
Final step is to add the green onions, and give your cashew chicken a few quick stirs, and then turn off the heat.
The green onions will still cook a little from the heat of the other ingredients and you want them to remain crisp and fragrant.
That’s all the steps, you’re now ready to eat an amazing version of Thai cashew chicken, and it’s so quick and easy to make!
Thai cashew chicken recipe
Time: About 30 minutes to cook this recipe
Recipe size: I ate the whole plate myself, but could serve 1 – 2
Cooking utensils: wok or frying pan, knife for chopping
- 200 grams chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon cassava flour or all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup natural taste cooking oil (I used sunflower oil for frying)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, crushed (I used about 4 cloves)
- ½ cup yellow onions, sliced into wedges (I used 1 small onion)
- ⅓ cup dry Thai birds eye red chilies, deep fried
- ½ cup raw cashew nuts
- ⅓ cup fresh long red chili peppers, thinly julienned
- ⅓ cup fresh banana chili peppers, cut in thin strips
- ⅓ cup spring onions, cut 2.5 cm pieces
- First mix up all the seasoning sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Add about ⅓ cup of oil to a wok or frying pan, and wait until it heats up.
- Fry the raw cashew nuts for about 1 minute in the hot oil until golden brown, then drain, and set aside.
- In the same oil, fry the Thai dry chilies for about 1 minutes until crispy, drain, and set aside.
- Dice the chicken, and mix with flour, to evenly coat it. Then again, fry in the oil for about 5 minutes until golden and crispy. Drain and set aside on a plate.
- Make sure you have all your garlic, onions, and fresh chilies, cut and ready.
- Add ½ tbsp. of oil to a wok or frying pan on medium high heat. Stir fry the garlic for a few seconds, then add the onions and stir fry until translucent. Then add the red and green chilies and stir fry for a minute or so. You can sprinkle a few drips of water in the wok if it gets dry.
- Add the seasoning sauce mixture, and stir fry until the sauce thickens and become sticky.
- Add the chicken, cashew nuts, and dry chilies, and stir fry until everything is coated in the sticky sauce. You can add a few sprinkles of water if it gets too dry.
- Last step is to add the green onions, stir fry for only a few seconds, then turn off the heat.
- Serve with hot steamed rice.
The aroma of those dry fried chilies, the caramelized onions, and those crispy cashew nuts will have your mouth watering at this stage.
The chicken will be crispy, but covered in that glazed salty and sweet sauce, the cashew nuts will be crunchy and creamy, and the mixture of vegetables and dried chilies will give it so much flavor.
Just like when you cook many other Thai recipes, make sure you have some steamed rice ready to go so you can eat while it’s hot and fresh.
This is an easy to make Thai cashew chicken recipe, yet the flavors will impress you and whoever is eating with you.
Make sure you follow the steps exactly, so you make sure everything is crunchy and crispy, yet all mingled together perfectly.
If you love Thai chicken with cashew nuts, this is a recipe you should try today!
Again, thank you to my friend Hanuman for sharing this recipe with me. Check out his 49 Classic Thai Stir Fry Dishes recipe ebook for more authentic Thai stir fry dishes that you can easily make at home.