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 Chicken
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes adjust according to your spice preference
- pinch black pepper
Chicken and Vegetables
- 1 pound chicken
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp 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.