Delicious authentic and spicy thai cashew chicken stir fry packed full of vegetables and tender chicken with a sweet and savory sauce that’s so good served over fluffy white rice. It’s so easy to make and so much better than takeout!
I cant even tell you how much I love Thai food. The sour, sweet, salty, and spicy combination of flavors is like a little flavor dance in your mouth and I can never get enough of it. When I traveled to Thailand in 2010, I jumped at the chance to take a cooking class in Bangkok. There are actually cooking classes in Thailand all over the place.
Someday when I go back, I will be taking a lot more. One dish I learned was Red Curry Chicken, including how to make your own red curry paste. Yum! I didn’t learn how to make this thai cashew chicken stir fry dish in my cooking class, but I ate many dishes just like it at a few restaurants.
I do like to order Thai take out sometimes, but when you can make dishes like this cashew chicken stir fry at home, that taste authentic, are quick to make, and are more healthy, then why get take out?
You can add the veggies you want, limit the sugar and salt and also adjust the spice how you like it. I also like my veggies to be crunchy and I find that take out veggies are always overcooked.
Tips for Making the Best Thai Cashew Chicken Stir Fry Recipe
While stir fry is a pretty easy dish to make, there are a few things that can take your stir fry from good to GREAT:
- marinate the meat – we have a special secret marinade that’s super easy and will make your meat soooooo tender! See below…
- if your cashews are not toasted already, toast them quickly for a few mins in a hot pan before adding them to your stir fry
- cook the meat first then remove it from the pan and make the rest of your dish. That way, you can only use one pan, your meat won’t get overcooked and the onions will get mixed with all the crispy bits left over by the meat.
- add your carrots with the onions, but always put the broccoli and peppers in last! They cook quick so you don’t want them cooking too long.
Chicken Stir Fry Marinade – Velveting the Meat
Have you ever had stir fry with chicken or beef and the meat just tastes dry and chewy? Then you wonder how the take out places get their meat so tender? I’m about to tell you their secret!
It’s called velveting. It’s the perfect name because the meat becomes soft and tender. All it takes is cornstarch and a little rice vinegar or water. You just chop up your meat, add the ingredients, mix well and let it sit for 30 mins.
Try velveting the meat for your next stir fry and I promise that you will use this tip for every stir fry you make going forward. It works on pork and beef too, not just chicken.
Thai Cashew Chicken Stir Fry Sauce
The sauce is what makes this stir fry! It’s salty from the soy sauce, sour and salty from the fish sauce, sweet from a little palm sugar and spicy from the garlic chili paste and any chili’s you choose to add.
It’s very easy to make, just throw everything into a bowl, mix and set aside. I always add water to the sauce because otherwise I find the soy sauce taste too strong. You don’t have to, but I recommend it unless you have a very light and low sodium soy sauce.
I like just enough sauce to cover all the chicken, veggies and rice, but not leave them swimming in sauce. If you like more sauce, just make more!
Thai Cashew Chicken Stir Fry Ingredients
This cashew chicken stir fry is packed FULL of veggies and lean chicken. I love to pack in as many veggies as I can in a stir fry. This one has the following:
You could also use any of the following:
- bok choy (the baby bok choy is my favorite)
- snap peas
- bean sprouts
Garlic Chili Sauce
One ingredient that I LOVE for stir fry’s is garlic chili paste. You can find this in almost any grocery store in the Asian section. Don’t skip this ingredient in the dish. It makes a huge difference in the flavor and it also adds a bit of heat. You can also find it on Amazon through this link!
If you only like mild heat to your stirfry, don’t be afraid to add it, its not very spicy. If you like a lot of heat, add a chopped up chili or two as well.
If you cant find it, you can also use sambal oelek which your grocery store might carry instead. If this is the case, it might be a bit more spicy so start small. You will also need to add garlic to the stir fry. You could also just use fresh red chilis and garlic!
Palm sugar is another somewhat obscure ingredient, but you don’t want to skip this one either. You can sometimes find it in your grocery store these days. If for some reason you can’t, look for coconut sugar or you can use a little brown sugar instead. You can also buy palm sugar on Amazon through this link!
How to Make Thai Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
Stir fry is one of my most favorite meals to cook on weekday evenings because they are so easy to make, they come together quick and they are delicious. All stir fry’s use pretty much the same method, but here is how we make this one:
- Chop up the chicken and marinate it in the cornstarch and rice wine for 30 mins.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet or wok on medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken. Stir fry the chicken till its just cooked through and remove from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, throw in the onion, carrots and chilies if you are going to use them. Stir fry for about 5 mins till the carrots start to get a little soft. Add the garlic chili paste and stir.
- When the carrots are tender, add the broccoli, peppers, chicken and the sauce to the pan. Stir fry for a min or so only. Don’t let the broccoli get mushy.
- Add the basil and cashews right before you are going to serve it. Add the leaves whole or chopped if you like that better. Spoon the veggies, chicken and sauce over a plate of rice. Serve!
A Few More Stir Fry Tips:
- always cut up all your chicken and veggies first before you start cooking. A good sharp knife makes quick work of this!
- we love these cutting boards because you can have one for meat, one for veggies, and they go right into the dishwasher!
- you don’t need a wok, but if you have one, even better!
Side Note about the chicken for this Thai Cashew Chicken:
Debbie and I are firm believers in quality ingredients. Choosing quality meat is especially important for the health of our families and for the health of our planet. We always choose grass fed or free range meat and local whenever possible.
We’re so thankful for companies like Butcher Box who sell quality grass fed and pasture raised meats and who truly care about the welfare of the animals. As an animal lover and a carnivore, that makes a BIG difference to me. What’s even better is that Butcher Box also has a fabulous price point and your order gets delivered directly to your door!
If you click the link below, you will get 10$ off your first order and free bacon!
(we earn a small commission when you purchase through our link and we so appreciate your support)
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Thai Chicken Stirfry with Basil and Cashews
MARINADE FOR THE CHICKEN
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp rice vinegar ( or rice wine)
- 2 chicken breast
FOR THE SAUCE
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp palm sugar to taste ((you want a little sweetness to the sauce))
- 4 tbsp water
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
FOR THE STIRFRY
- 2 chicken breast (, chopped in bite sized pieces and marinated (marinade optional))
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 – 2 tbsp garlic chili paste
- 1/2 onion (, chopped)
- 1 – 2 finger length red Thai chilis with seeds removed and diced ((optional))
- 2 peppers (, chopped)
- 2 carrots (, sliced)
- 1 cup broccoli (, cut into bite sized pieces)
- 1/2 cup cashews
- Bunch of basil ((dont chop it))
- 1 green onion ( for garnish)
- cooked rice to serve it with
Chop up the chicken and marinate it in the cornstarch and rice wine for 30 mins.
Heat the coconut oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the chicken. Stir fry the chicken till its just cooked through and remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, throw in the onion, carrots and chilies if you are going to use them. Stir fry for about 5 mins till the carrots start to get a little soft. Add the garlic chili paste and stir.
When the carrots are tender, add the broccoli, peppers, chicken and the sauce to the pan. Stir fry for a min or so only. Don’t let the broccoli get mushy.
Add the basil and cashews right before you are going to serve it. Add the leaves whole or chopped if you like that better. Spoon the veggies, chicken and sauce over a plate of rice. Serve!