This cashew chicken is an authentic Cantonese version that calls for chicken thighs to be seasoned with ginger and garlic and then quickly stir-fried with fresh sugar snaps, carrots, and celery in a light sauce made with rice vinegar and soy sauce. Takes only 30 minutes.
One of the most beloved Chinese recipes in America, cashew chicken classically consists of dark meat chicken, sugar snap peas, carrots, and cashews in a light, silky sauce that barely clings to the chicken and that’s fragrant with ginger. Sadly, cashew chicken found stateside is often nothing at all like it was intended to be, consisting rather of greasy, deep-fried chicken in a goopy gravy. This simple stir-fry takes you squarely back to tradition. Originally published June 20, 2010.–Renee Schettler Rossi
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 30 M
- Serves 2 to 3
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Recipe Testers Reviews
Wonderful and easy. This recipe only has a handful of ingredients, prep time is next to nothing, and the outcome is fabulous. I actually made it twice, once using chicken thighs per the recipe and the other using chicken breast. Both versions were terrific. For variety, you can add ingredients to your liking; I personally would’ve wanted a little tofu. Either way, I think it’s a winner. It’s light and healthy yet packed with flavor. Definitely a must-try!
In its simplicity, this recipe is full of greatness. You can just tell you’re doing something good for your body and soul as you cook and eat it. I substituted vegetable stock for the chicken (I had run out of homemade chicken stock) and I used gluten-free soy sauce, as I must now eat gluten-free. These two changes account for subtle differences in the flavour profile, but nothing too dramatic. The recipe delivers what it intends to by creating a fast stir-fry with a light sauce. (It’s so quick, it’s almost embarrassing.) It makes me want to try other recipes in Young’s book.
A weeknight-winner for sure. This cashew chicken was simple and light, and the flavors of both the ginger and garlic come through. I used regular soy sauce, although for more punch next time, I’ll try it with the dark soy sauce that’s recommended in the headnote. It cooks up very fast, so make sure you have all of your ingredients ready to go, and that the rice is warm in the rice cooker when you start to stir-fry.
This recipe tastes great, and can be adapted to suit individual tastes. The flavors were well-balanced and the sauce silky was understated. The vegetables had a cooked but crunchy texture. I love ginger, and next time I’ll sneak more in for myself. That’s the beauty of this template recipe: Make it as specified, and the next time, you’ll know just what to change for your specific tastes. I used a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet and watched the author’s recommended water-droplet dance evaporate in a second. I had success following the timing precisely, and I let the sugar snap peas cook about 2 minutes to turn a bright green. I also had minor grease-splattering, but not much, because of the minimal oil required. To reduce cleanup, you can place sheets of aluminum foil on the stove top and the counter next to the pan.
All of your prep work has to be done before anything goes into that scorching-hot metal pan or else it’s burn, baby, burn. (I’ll admit that I get lazy at times with some recipes. I’ll chop vegetables after I’ve started cooking and measure out ingredients à la minute. But not with an unforgiving, high-heat stir-fry.) This recipe put some discipline back into my mise en place.