Put down that takeout menu! This Cashew Chicken truly stacks up to your favourite Chinese takeout and it’s incredibly quick and EASY to make!
A saucy chicken stir fry with cashews, this is a terrific combination of flavours. You’ll love how saucy this is, and how you can adapt this to your taste by using vegetables of choice!
Cashew Chicken – takeout at home!
This is takeout made at home that truly stacks up to your favourite Chinese restaurant. No false promises here! Just read some of the glowing reviews from the many people who have tried this.
You’ll have it on the table faster than ordering home delivery, it’s healthier (way less greasy!) and it’s versatile so you can add or switch the vegetables as you please. So much easier to just adapt this yourself rather than trying to explain what you want over the phone to your Chinese takeout place…… right??
The secret ingredient is Chinese Cooking Wine
Chinese Cooking Wine, also known as Shaoxing wine or Shaosing wine, is the secret ingredient that makes homemade Chinese food truly taste as good as take out.
It’s an alcoholic wine used for Chinese and other Asian cooking. Totally unpleasant to drink, salty, cheap as chips from Asian stores (~ $1.50 for a big bottle), lasts forever and you can read more about it here (if you’re so inclined).
While you’d never drink it straight, when used cooking, it completely transforms. It seasons the sauce, gives it depth of flavour and complexity, that “something something” to make it just like Chinese restaurants.
Ingredients in Cashew Chicken
I promised quick and easy, and I exaggerate not! There’s not that many ingredients in the sauce (see photo above) nor in the stir fry itself (see below).
I like to use chicken thigh for stir fries because it’s juicier than breast and tenderloin. If I make this with chicken breast, I always tenderise it using a Chinese restaurant technique using baking soda (bi-carb). It’s super simple and I’ve included the directions in the notes.
I make Cashew Chicken with green capsicum (bell peppers) and onion because they are the most common vegetables I’ve seen in Cashew Chicken. But feel free to add other vegetables into this. I’ve also seen it with red capsicum, celery, Asian Greens, broccoli, carrots and scallions/shallots.
Making Cashew Chicken
Cashew Chicken is very straight forward to make and also very forgiving (especially if you use chicken thigh).
Mix the Sauce, use a bit to marinate the chicken just for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables, have a glass of wine, browse through the Asian Takeout recipe collection and think about all the other things you want to try one of these days…
When you’re ready to cook, have everything ready to go because it takes less than 5 minutes! Sauté garlic and onion (1 min), cook chicken and capsicum (3 min), add sauce, simmer 1 minute until thickens, serve over rice.
As with all my stir fries, this Cashew Chicken comes with plenty of sauce. There’s nothing sadder than when you’re left with a bowl of plain white rice with no sauce to eat it with. Right??!
Hope you enjoy! – Nagi x
Chinese Cashew Chicken
Watch how to make it
Chinese Cashew Chicken
Recipe video above. The soft, creamy crunch of cashews is a perfect addition to this saucy chicken stir fry! Truly stacks up to your favourite take out – read the glowing reviews!
- 1 tbsp cornstarch / cornflour
- 3 tbsp soy sauce (, all purpose or light (Note 1))
- 3 tbsp Chinese cooking wine or Mirin ((Note 2))
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- Dash of white pepper ((sub black))
- 500g / 1 lb chicken thigh (, skinless boneless, cut into 2.5cm/1″ pieces (Note 3))
- 2 tbsp peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 2 garlic cloves (, minced)
- 1/2 onion (, chopped into 1.75 cm / 3/4″ pieces(yellow, brown or white))
- 1 green capsicum / bell pepper (, chopped into 2 cm / 0.8″ pieces)
- 6 tbsp water
- 3/4 cup roasted cashews (, unsalted)
Sauce: Mix cornflour and soy sauce until there’s no lumps. Then add remaining Sauce ingredients and mix.
Marinate: Transfer 2 tbsp Sauce to chicken, mix to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes+.
Cook: Heat oil over high heat in a wok or heavy based skillet. Add the garlic and onion, cook for 1 minute.
Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Add capsicum and cook for 1 minute.
Add Sauce and water. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until Sauce thickens.
Stir through cashews, remove from stove. Serve with rice.
1. Soy Sauce – ordinary all purpose or light soy sauce. Do not use dark soy sauce – flavour is too strong and sauce will be very dark.
2. Chinese Cooking Wine (Shaoxing Wine) – sub with Mirin or dry sherry (near perfect subs). If you can’t consume alcohol, use low sodium chicken broth in place of the cooking wine in the Sauce AND in place of the water.
3. Chicken – I prefer making this with thigh because it’s juicier, but it can be made with breast or tenderloin. If using breast, option to tenderise using the Chinese method so it’s super tender and juicy like you get at Chinese restaurants, as follows:
Tenderise chicken the Chinese restaurant way: Use fingers to coat chopped chicken with 1.5 tsp baking soda (bi-carb), leave 20 minutes. Rinse well in colander, pat away excess water using paper towels. Proceed with recipe.
4. Nutrition per serving excluding rice. It can easily serve 5 or more with other sides, as is typically served at Chinese restaurants.
Originally published October 2015. Updated post with new photos, better video and most importantly, Life of Dozer section added! No change to recipe.
Life of Dozer
Wow, it’s true. You really can make anyone look intelligent with glasses.