Thai Cashew Chicken is the perfect dinner for when you are short on time, but you still want something that has a lot of flavor. In Thailand, it is known as Gai Pad Med Mamuang, which means chicken stir fry with cashew nuts. While considered more of a Chinese dish, it's a very popular recipe in Thailand. And rightfully so! It has an enticing sweetness, balanced by subtle spice and all of the right textures. This checks all of the boxes for a weeknight meal. Easy, fast, healthy, and delicious!
Tip For Nights When You Really Have No Time
Slice up a few things, mix together a sauce, and that is really the extent of the prep work for this recipe. It's quick, but let's face it, there are some nights when even that much prep is too much! That's where planning ahead comes in. The sauce can be mixed up in the morning or the day prior and stored in the refrigerator. Your peppers, onions, and chicken can all be chopped and sliced in advance as well. Even the ginger can be minced in ahead and stored in the freezer! When you are ready for dinner, toss the chicken in the cornstarch, mince the garlic, slice the basil, and start cooking! With most of your prep already done, start to finish, it's under 15 minutes! That's faster than it takes to cook the rice! I like to buy frozen Jasmine rice for nights like this. It takes just 3 minutes to heat up in the microwave! You can come home from your kid's sports practice, and have dinner on the table by the time they get out of the shower! How perfect!
Spice It Up With Coconut Curry Cashews
This recipe calls for unsalted roasted cashews, which is as easy as opening a can. But when I want to add another layer of flavor I like to use these Coconut Curry Cashews. They can be made ahead as well. These cashews add amazing flavors and textures to the Thai Cashew Chicken. Plus they are awesome for snacking on later.
Thai Cashew Chicken in One Pan
To keep this super simple, we are cooking everything up in one pan. To start off, heat some sesame oil in a large skillet or wok. If you don't have sesame oil that's okay. It does add a nice flavor, but canola oil can be used in a pinch. Once it is heated, put your chicken in the pan and brown one side. Many recipes will have you brown the chicken completely, remove the chicken, cook the vegetables, then add the chicken back in. We add the vegetables into the same pan with the chicken after the first side is browned. This saves both time and effort!
Once the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, add the sauce to the pan and continue cooking until it thickens, which takes just a couple of minutes.
There you have it! Thai Cashew Chicken in just 20 minutes. It's faster than driving to get take out, and the flavor is so delicious!
Thai Cashew ChickenRecipe by:
- ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoon ketchup
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes adjust according to your spice preference
- pinch black pepper
Chicken and Vegetables
- 1 pound chicken
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil (canola oil can be used instead)
- ½ red bell pepper, sliced
- ½ yellow onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch ginger root, minced
- ½ cup basil, sliced
- ½ cup cashews
- In a small bowl, mix sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Dice chicken into 1-inch cubes. Toss in cornstarch to coat. Once fully coated, shake off any excess.
- Slice onions, peppers, and basil.
- In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken for about 3-4 minutes without stirring, until brown on one side.
- Flip chicken over, then add onions, pepper, garlic, ginger, and basil to the pan. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, until it thickens. Add cashews.
- Serve over rice.
Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food
I just love the balance of flavors and textures in this dish. The Thai basil and coconut curry cashews are what really take it over the top. YUM!
Those cashews are divine! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feedback!
Bless my food by payal
Dish looks absolutely stunning with a elaborate write up. You have an amazing blog.
That is so kind of you! Thank you so much!
LOVE LOVE LOVE that you used cornstarch for the chicken, it's a fantastic way to tenderize the chicken without using a tenderizing mallet. And then of course to thicken up any sauces! Loving this recipe!
Thank you so much! I agree, cornstarch really does a lot of good for this dish!
This recipe has great potential but was wildly salty! I checked to make sure my measurements for the sauce were correct and they were. Perhaps there should be 1 tsp of fish sauce vs tbsp?
Hi Molly! I am so sorry that your dish ended up so salty. I have not ever had that experience when making it, and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce is what I use. The sodium content of the individual ingredients could vary by brand and may be resulting in this additional saltiness. If you can reply back with the brands you are using I would love to compare them to mine and add some notes for my readers, so others do not have the same issue.
Made this tonight for dinner and wow! Simply wow! Highly recommend!
Thank you so much for this wonderful comment! I am glad that you had a delicious dinner and enjoyed this recipe!
This is definitely delicious, I love those cashews...
Thank you! They are so good!
I love it that this recipe is so easy and fast to prepare, with minimal ingredients and still packed with flavour. And it looks very delicious.
Thank you! It is so good. I hope that you enjoy it!
Tried this recipe yesterday! I was so good. My mom loved it
I am so glad that you and your mom loved it! Thank you for sharing!
Thai style food is my favorite and the easy recipe of chicken sounds so interesting. Definitely gonna try this.
Isn't Thai food the best? I eat it at least once a week. This recipe is a favorite!
Wow! You has me at Thai! I love everything Thai but am always afraid to make it myself because it seemed so complex . You recipe seems yummy and easy to make. I’ll definitely try it out. Thanks!
Joanna, thanks for commenting! I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!