What is better than takeout? Your own homemade version of a takeout meal made for pennies.
Cashew chicken is a delightful dish on the menu of many Chinese restaurants.
With this tasty homemade version, you can skip the line and save the delivery fee and have this ready for dinner in about a 1/2 hour.
Not only is it speedy, but there is no MSG or other additives so it is healthier for you.
You may have never cooked with cashews before. It’s not that different from peanuts, but they are easier to incorporate into the sauce and taste so good.
Once you taste this homemade version of cashew chicken, you’ll never want to pay for takeout again.
The way I would describe this dish is like a chicken stir-fry in a bowl. The chicken is sautéed in sesame oil for flavor.
When it is cooked on both sides, add in the red bell peppers, broccoli, edamame, and garlic. Stir while cooking to keep it from sticking and burning in the pan.
You can use any combination of vegetables that you have on hand. Don’t worry if you don’t have something on this list, just substitute something else in its place.
The finishing touch is a soy garlic sauce with the cashews added and stirred into the mixture.
The sauce consists of soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and Asian chili garlic sauce.
The chili garlic sauce can be found in the refrigerator section of your grocery store. If your store does not have an Asian brand, you can use sriracha or sambal olek.
The spiciness of this dish adds flavor and very little heat. If you are sensitive to spice, simply cut back on the chili sauce or omit it altogether. Whatever works best for you.
No sense spending the night with intestinal issues just to enjoy a good meal. Leave it out or substitute something less spicy.
The nice thing about this sauce is that it coats the chicken and makes a beautiful glaze for the vegetables. The chicken stays nice and juicy, and the vegetables are tender-crisp.
This meal comes together quickly for a fast meal when you’re short on time or didn’t pull anything out for dinner.
What’s in the Cashew Chicken?
If you’ve never had this dish before, you’re in for a treat.
It’s sweet and saucy, with juicy bites of chicken with vegetables topped with cashews. The ingredient list is as follows:
- Sesame oil
- Olive oil
- Broccoli florets
- Bell pepper
- Shelled frozen edamame
- Roasted unsalted cashews
Cashew Chicken Sauce
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Rice wine vinegar
- Asian chili garlic sauce
- Ground ginger
Cashew Chicken Recipe
The prep for this dish is really simple. You will need to thaw your chicken breasts the night before, chop up your vegetables, and prepare the sauce. Cut your chicken into bite-size pieces.
Add cornstarch, salt, pepper, and chicken to a Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat the chicken well.
Heat some olive oil in a skillet and add your sesame oil. Add the chicken to your skillet and cook until the chicken is about 90% done.
Then, add the bell pepper, broccoli, edamame, and garlic to the skillet and cook a few more minutes. Don’t overcook the vegetables, they should still be a little crisp.
Prepare the sauce while the veggies are cooking and set aside. When the chicken and vegetables are almost done, add the sauce and roasted cashews to the skillet.
Simmer the mixture for a minute or two. You just want to heat up the sauce and thicken it slightly.
Tips for Making the Best Cashew Chicken
Cornstarch is a necessity in this recipe. It is what gives the chicken that nice coating and helps the sauce stick to it.
It also helps thicken the sauce at the end. If you don’t have it, you might need to make a trip to the store because the dish will not come out the same without it.
This recipe calls for roasted, unsalted cashews. Some people don’t like to add salted cashews to this recipe, because they can end up being way too salty.
If all you can find are the salted ones, just cut back a little or use a little less soy sauce.
Get rice wine vinegar and not rice wine (also called mirin). One is vinegar and one is wine. They are not interchangeable.
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 heaping cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup red bell peppers, diced small
- 1 cup shelled frozen edamame
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup unsalted dry-roasted cashews
- 3/4 to 1 cup green onions, sliced thinly
Cashew Chicken Soy Garlic Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Asian chili garlic sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- In a Ziploc bag, add chicken pieces, salt, pepper, and cornstarch. Close the bag and shake well to coat the chicken pieces.
- In a large, nonstick skillet, add the olive oil and sesame oil, chicken pieces, and cook over medium-high heat, for about 4 to 5 minutes stirring frequently so it cooks evenly. When chicken is between 80-90% done, add the broccoli, bell peppers, edamame, garlic, and stir well to combine.
- Cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through. While everything cooks, prepare the sauce.
- Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, chili-garlic sauce, and ginger in a medium bowl, and whisk to combine.
- When the chicken and vegetables are done, pour in the sauce and add the cashews. Stir well and let cook for an additional few minutes until the sauce is heated through and thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
- Top with a sprinkling of green onions, and serve with a side of steamed rice and egg rolls. If you have any leftovers, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for later.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 490Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 501mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 43g