The classic Thai Cashew Chicken is a popular dish on most Thai restaurant menus. This version made at home gives you authentic flavour using real Thai ingredients. With tender pieces of chicken, crunchy cashews, and a flavourful sauce, this stir-fry deserves a spot on your weekly rotational menu.
You don’t have to travel to your local Asian grocery store to get most of the ingredients. You can find most of the ingredients in the Asian aisle and produce section of your local grocery store.
This Thai Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry is quick and easy. In fact, once your veggies are chopped and prepped, this dish comes together in under 30 minutes.
Notes on Ingredients for Thai Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry
- Chicken Thighs – Skinless, boneless thighs are best for juiciness and tenderness in this dish.
- Garlic Cloves – Keep these whole and slowly fry them to enhance the flavour and aromatics of the oil.
- Spring Onions – Added for freshness and colour. Spring onions are a staple in many Thai dishes.
- Cashews – Use raw, unsalted cashews. Toasting the cashews in this recipe will enhance their flavour.
- Dried Red Chillies – These dried chillis are SPICY so you can omit these for less heat. However, they add a nice flavour to this recipe. Soak your dried chilies in warm water to bring out their heat if you’re using them.
- Fresh Thai Birdseye Chillies – I add fresh chillis more for colour and flavour. Adding them in the final stages of cooking does not make this dish spicy.
- Long Red Chilli – Add these as a garnish for spicy lovers.
- Oyster Sauce – This sauce offers tonnes of umami flavour and is a thickener for our sauce.
- Fish Sauce – Used in most Thai dishes, fish sauce provides this dish with its unique salty and umami flavours. Its strong pungent scent will fill your entire kitchen (or the entire first floor), I promise it’s worth it. Don’t skip this Thai kitchen staple.
- Palm or Brown Sugar – Adds a slight sweetness to the sauce. Also balances out the saltiness from the oyster sauce and the heat of the chili peppers.
- Chicken Stock – Stock gives the sauce a more rounded flavour and increases the volume of the sauce as well.
- Dark Soy Sauce – This recipe’s small amount of dark soy sauce adds colour to the dish. Substitute with regular soy sauce but you’ll miss the dark shiny colour that the dark soy sauce gives this dish.
Notes on Toasting the Cashews
Toasted cashews are really what makes this dish what it is. You get from the crunchiness of the cashews and the tenderness of the chicken. Something you’ll come back craving for more.
Raw, unsalted cashews are needed in this recipe. They take on the umami flavours in this Thai cashew Chicken dish. When looking for raw cashews they are paler in colour and softer than roasted.
Toast the cashews until they are slightly charred and take on a brown colour. Stay close by them when cooking, as they can burn fairly quickly when toasting.
Can I Add Other Veggies to This Stir-Fry?
What makes this recipe so great? It’s a stir fry, so you can add many of your favorite stir fry veggies without compromising flavour.
Some of my favorite veggies to compliment this dish are snow peas, broccoli florets, red or yellow bell peppers, greens beans, and bok choy.
Add these to the final stages of cooking when adding other veggies. This helps to maintain their crispiness and nutritional content.
DID YOU TRY IT? If you make this recipe, leave a comment and review it below with a STAR rating! Let me know how you and your family like it. I always appreciate your feedback.
Thai Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry
- 5-6 cloves garlic whole slowly stir fried
- 8 chicken thighs sliced in bite sized pieces
- 1 bunch spring onions
- 2 handfuls cashew nuts
- 1-2 dried red chillies soaked in warm water
- 2-3 Thai birdseye chillies
- 1 large red chilli sliced for garnish
- coriander to garnish
- 3-4 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tsp palm or brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
Marinate the Chicken
- Add the marinade ingredients to the chicken and set aside.
- Add oil to your wok and heat to a medium to low heat and slowly cook the garlic cloves whole for five to six minutes. Make sure to leave the skin on so garlic does not burn.
- While garlic is cooking, roughly chop up spring onions in 3inch lengths, white and green parts separated. Roughly chop Chinese chives.
- Soak the dry red chillies and slit the birds eye chillies and chop the large red chilli into rings for garnish.
- Place all ingredients in plate and set aside.
- Push down on the garlic cloves to see if they are soft then remove from the wok and place them with prepped veggies. Pour the oil from wok into a bowl and set aside.
- Add the cashews to the wok and toast them until browned on one side.
- While cashews are toasting, mix up the sauce ingredients (except the stock and soy sauce).
- Use 1 tbsp of sauce to caramelize the cashews until slightly charred. Remove and set those aside.
- Turn up the wok to a high heat, then pour 2 tbsp of garlic oil back in.
- Fry spring onion whites until charred and then take them out.
- Add more oil and stir fry the chicken. You may have to do this in batches. Once sealed and slightly charred, set the chicken aside.
- Now add the spring onion greens, the chillies, then the roasted garlic. Stir for 20 seconds.
- Then add the chicken back into the wok. Toss with chillis, spring onions and garlic.
- Add the dark soy to the sauce and pour it over the top of chicken. Cook through until the sauce is wrapped around, then add chicken stock.
- Let it boil vigorously for 1 min to slightly thicken, then add the cashews and leave a few aside for the garnish.
- Top with the remaining cashews, spring onion whites, sliced red chilli pepper (for heat), and coriander. Serve with rice and enjoy!
- To reduce the heat in this dish for small kiddos, omit the chillis (dried and fresh).
- To make this meatless, replace chicken thighs with chopped tofu.