A saucy chicken stir fry with cashews, this is a terrific combination of flavours. You’ll love how saucy this is, and how you can adapt this to your taste by using vegetables of choice. Try this with Hot and Sour Soup or Chinese Corn Soup with a side of Fried Rice for a homemade takeout experience!
This is a reader-favourite recipe included by popular demand in my debut cookbook “Dinner”!
This is takeout made at home that truly stacks up to your favourite Chinese restaurant. No false promises here! Just read some of the glowing reviews from the many people who have tried this. 😇
You’ll have it on the table faster than ordering home delivery, it’s healthier (way less greasy!) and it’s versatile so you can add or switch the vegetables as you please. So much easier to just adapt this yourself rather than trying to explain what you want over the phone to your Chinese takeout place…… right?? 😉
The secret ingredient is Chinese Cooking Wine
Chinese Cooking Wine, also known as Shaoxing wine or Shaosing wine, is the secret ingredient that makes homemade Chinese food truly taste as good as take out.
It’s an alcoholic wine used for Chinese and other Asian cooking. Totally unpleasant to drink, salty, cheap as chips from Asian stores (~ $1.50 for a big bottle), lasts forever and you can read more about it here (if you’re so inclined).
While you’d never drink it straight, when used cooking, it completely transforms. It seasons the sauce, gives it depth of flavour and complexity, that “something something” to make it just like Chinese restaurants.
Substitutions for Shaoxing Wine
The best substitute is Mirin, or dry sherry – these produce virtually the same result. If you can’t consume alcohol, the best alternative is to substitute low sodium chicken broth for the water in the sauce.
Ingredients in Cashew Chicken
I promised quick and easy, and I exaggerate not! There’s not that many ingredients in the sauce (see photo above) nor in the stir fry itself (see below).
I like to use chicken thigh for stir fries because it’s juicier than breast and tenderloin. If I make this with chicken breast, I always tenderise it using a Chinese restaurant technique using baking soda (bi-carb). It’s super simple, see directions here: How to Velvet Chicken.
I make Cashew Chicken with green capsicum (bell peppers) and onion because they are the most common vegetables I’ve seen in Cashew Chicken. But feel free to add other vegetables into this. I’ve also seen it with red capsicum, celery, Asian Greens, broccoli, carrots and scallions/shallots.
Making Cashew Chicken
Cashew Chicken is very straight forward to make and also very forgiving (especially if you use chicken thigh).
Mix the Sauce, use a bit to marinate the chicken just for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables, have a glass of wine, browse through the Asian Takeout recipe collection and think about all the other things you want to try one of these days…😊
When you’re ready to cook, have everything ready to go because it takes less than 5 minutes! Sauté garlic and onion (1 min), cook chicken and capsicum (3 min), add sauce, simmer 1 minute until thickens, serve over rice.
As with all my stir fries, this Cashew Chicken comes with plenty of sauce. There’s nothing sadder than when you’re left with a bowl of plain white rice with no sauce to eat it with. Right??!
Hope you enjoy! – Nagi x
PS For a healthy low carb option try Cauliflower Rice – 77% fewer calories and 87% less carbs than rice!
Watch how to make it
This recipe features in my debut cookbook Dinner. The book is mostly new recipes, but this is a reader favourite included by popular demand!
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Chinese Cashew Chicken
- 1 tbsp cornstarch / cornflour
- 3 tbsp soy sauce , all purpose or light (Note 1)
- 1 1/2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine or Mirin (Note 2)
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- Dash of white pepper (sub black)
- 500g / 1 lb chicken thigh , skinless boneless, cut into 2.5cm/1″ pieces (Note 3)
- 2 tbsp peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1/2 onion , chopped into 1.75 cm / 3/4″ pieces(yellow, brown or white)
- 1 green capsicum / bell pepper , chopped into 2 cm / 0.8″ pieces
- 6 tbsp water
- 3/4 cup roasted cashews , unsalted
- Sauce: Mix cornflour and soy sauce until there’s no lumps. Then add remaining Sauce ingredients and mix.
- Marinate: Transfer 2 tbsp Sauce to chicken, mix to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes+.
- Cook: Heat oil over high heat in a wok or heavy based skillet. Add the garlic and onion, cook for 1 minute.
- Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Add capsicum and cook for 1 minute.
- Add Sauce and water. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until Sauce thickens.
- Stir through cashews, remove from stove. Serve immediately with rice – or for a low carb, low cal option, try Cauliflower Rice!
Originally published October 2015. Updated post with new photos, better video and most importantly, Life of Dozer section added! No change to recipe.
More Chinese takeout favourites
- Chow Mein
- General Tso’s Chicken
- Sweet and Sour Pork
- Crispy Honey Chicken
- Beef & Broccoli
- Chop Suey (Chicken Stir Fry)
- Spring Rolls
- Prawn (Shrimp) Stir Fry
- Chinese BBQ Pork (Char Siu)
- See ALL Chinese Takeout recipes
Life of Dozer
Wow, it’s true. You really can make anyone look intelligent with glasses. 🤓
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