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
How to Stir Fry
Cashew Chicken Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 30 M
- Serves 2 to 3
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs (454 g), cut into 1/2-inch (12 mm) cubes
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce (for a richer tasting sauce, use dark soy sauce in place of regular soy sauce; for gluten-free, use tamari)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil (use only oils with a high smoke point, such as grapeseed)
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, strings removed, pods left whole (2 1/2 oz | 70 g)
- 1/2 cup carrots sliced 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
- 1/2 cup celery sliced 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
- 1/2 cup unsalted cashews (if using raw cashews, toast them in a dry skillet for a minute or two prior to tossing them into the stir-fry)
- 1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the rice wine, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and sugar. Stir to combine.
- 2. In a small bowl combine the broth, the remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoons rice wine, and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch.
- 3. Heat a 14-inch (36 cm) flat-bottomed wok or a 12-inch (30 cm) skillet over high heat until a bead of water added vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil, tilting the wok to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the ginger and, using a metal spatula, stir-fry until the ginger is fragrant, about 10 seconds. Push the ginger to the sides of the wok, carefully add the chicken mixture, and spread it evenly in a single layer. Cook the chicken, undisturbed, for 1 minute. Then stir-fry until the chicken is lightly browned but not cooked through, about 1 minute.
- 4. Swirl the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into the wok, add the sugar snaps, carrots, celery, and cashews, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir-fry just until the sugar snaps are bright green, about 1 minute. Restir the broth mixture and swirl it into the wok, adding it along the sides rather than into the middle. Stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.