Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry
Cashew chicken stir-fry is an all-round family favourite! It cooks up in less than 30 minutes. You may want to do double-batch this up because it’s that yummy! A great one for Chinese New Year or as a weekend ‘fakeaway’.
Chicken Cashew Stir-Fry
I’ve always been fond of a Chinese and would often pick it over a choice between that and Indian. Now I like them both however this recipe has very quickly become a firm favourite in our household. My little one adores it and will often ask for more! It’s either that or he’s addicted to soy sauce…
Why should I make cashew chicken?
- Perfect for celebrating Chinese New Year
- Makes for a cheap weekend fakeaway – healthier too!
- Cooks in less than 30 minutes
- All the family will love it – a firm family fave in our household
- It’s so DELICIOUS you’ll want second helpings
Save yourself some pennies!
Just think how much money you could save each time you make your own ‘takeaway’. If you search, you’ll find takeaways for every cuisine, from Recipe Tin’s homemade chicken doner and Pinch of Nom’s Fried rice. Ready to get started?
What ingredients do I need?
- Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless – don’t worry if you have to buy skin-on and boned, it just means a little bit of extra prep from you. You’ll just need to cut around the bone with a sharp knife to cut off the meat. Carefully cut off the skin too.
- Chopped garlic – I used lazy garlic for quickness because anything to make my life easier is a win! Feel free to also use a crushed garlic clove too. See tips below on how to crush garlic.
- Shaoxing rice wine – there’s some info below on what shaoxing is and where to find it.
- Cornflour – an ingredient used for thickening. Cornflour is also known as ‘corn starch’ in the US. It comes from the starchy part of maize. See recipe variations below for alternatives.
- Sesame oil – providing a lovely, nutty flavour to the overall dish. You could also use any other nut oil such as walnut oil. Don’t worry if you don’t want to use a nut oil. Vegetable oil, or even coconut is fine too.
- Cashew nuts – the main star of the show, providing texture with a lovely crunch! Obviously you’d want to use cashews but I know peanuts would work well here too.
- Basmati rice – or any rice is fine really!
- Green and red pepper – or any colour, it really doesn’t matter.
- White onions – preferably white but red onions or shallots would work well.
- Spring onions – you’ll need some for the dish but perhaps keep some aside for serving at the end.
- Soy sauce – made from fermented soy beans and wheat (hence why tamari is often suggested as a gluten-free alternative). It’s then treated with saltwater before fermentation begins. Proteins are broken down by enzymes in the mould which causes the glutamate levels to increase… a reason why it’s so addictive!
Make it family-friendly
Okay so I know I said that this recipe is a family favourite but it won’t initially appear as family-friendly due to the cashew nuts! Our little one is two (at time of writing) and actually loves nuts and we’re happy to give them to him. He knows to chew them properly.
I wouldn’t suggest giving this to a child under one, partly because of the cashews but also because of the amount of soy used. Soy contains a lot of sodium and isn’t great for little ones. Of course a tiny dash would be fine. We give it to our son but only because we have it on occasion.
Obviously a parent would think twice about giving their child something that contains alcohol (shaoxing rice wine) but the amount is tiny and will be cooked off during the cooking process. I don’t think should be a concern.
To make this completely child-friendly, you could reduce the soy to 1 tsp and leave off the cashews for their serving.
- Chopping board x 2 (one for meat and one for veg)
- Small and medium bowl
- Small frying pan
- A wok
- Chef’s knife
What is shaoxing rice wine and where can I find it?
‘Shaoxing’ or sometimes spelt as ‘shaohsing’ is a rice wine originating from the city of Shaoxing in the Zhejiang province. It’s made from fermenting rice, water and wheat (so definitely not gluten-free).
These days it’s really easy to find at your local Chinese supermarket (or try Oriental Mart if you prefer online) or even at shops like Tesco and Waitrose.
Can I use chicken breast instead of thigh?
Chicken breast would be ok to use but chicken thigh is tastier and more economical too! I would definitely opt for thigh if you can.
What are the alternatives to Shaoxing rice wine if I’m gluten-free?
If you either don’t have any or are gluten-free, then Mirin would be a good substitute. Mirin is made from fermenting sweet rice.
What can I use instead of cornflour?
If you don’t have any cornflour, I’d suggest using something else which thickens such as potato flour. Tapioca flour, rice starch, normal wheat flour and arrowroot are also usually used as thickeners. So pick one!
Is cashew chicken stir-fry gluten-free?
No because it contains Shaoxing rice wine which contains wheat. I would recommend using Mirin (fermented sweet rice wine) as an alternative.
Save on oil and use the remains of the sesame oil used when frying the cashews for when you fry the onions and peppers.
How to crush garlic easily – you can either use a garlic crusher which means peeling the garlic clove, popping it in and press the juice out of the clove. OR you use a sharp knife. Press the side of the knife down on the clove, using the palm of your hand (blade facing away). Finely chop the crushed clove. Doing this helps release the garlic flavours much more than when you just cut once.
Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry
- 700 g chicken thigh
- 2 tsp garlic cloves crushed approx 2 crushed cloves
- 2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp Sesame oil
- 2 handfuls cashew nuts
- 6 cups water
- 1 red pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 1 Onion diced
- 2 spring onions
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 cups basmati rice
- 4 tsp water
- 2 tsp cornflour
- Dice your onions, peppers and chicken thighs.
- Pour all the marinade ingredients into a bowl with the chicken thighs and marinade for 10 mins.
- Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of sesame oil in a frying pan and toast your cashews lightly. Place aside in a bowl.
- Using the remains of the oil from the cashews, fry your onions and peppers in a wok, until starting to brown. Add the chicken and cook until brown.
- Prepare your rice: 3 cups of rice and 6 cups of water in a pan. Bring to the boil and either place in a low oven at 140 for 25 mins (if you using an Aga or an oven-proof pan) or simmer for the same amount of time, until the rice grains start to separate.
- Add the soy, spring onions and cornflour paste (mix it together in a bowl until there are no lumps). Stir-fry for a few mins.
- To finish, add the cashews and a drizzle of sesame oil. Serve with the rice.