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Monday, 1 December 2014

Chicken And Cashew Nuts

So, you've all been waiting a long time for this dish and for that I apologise, I was trying to get a burn rate of less than 50%! My overriding piece of advice is to be careful when you make this - I've burnt myself with the oil twice in the five times I've made this. It was probably worth it though and that warning aside, let me tell you about the first time I ate this dish. It was in Thailand at the Rayavadee hotel, we'd just come back from a day of snorkelling around the islands (ok, I bobbed about them in a life jacket but that ruins the image!) and were relaxed and sun kissed. When we arrived at the restaurant I wanted something simple, without coconut milk, and chicken with cashew nuts caught my eye - it's one of my sister's favourite dishes, so I knew it tasted good. The sauce, which the chicken is cooked in, combined with the crunch of cashew nuts and the knowledge that there's three of your five a day (but doesn't taste like it) included, all combine to make this dish a constant favourite. 

The basis for this recipe came from The Wanderlust Kitchen, as did the tip for how to cut the chicken into thin slices. However, I have changed the recipe as it didn't include any vegetables and my family strongly believed that the best ones (from restaurants we've been to in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam) contained lots of vegetables.

Chicken with Cashew Nuts
Serves 4
Be careful with the oil!
To slice the chicken into very thin strips, hold your knife almost flat to the chicken breast and slice against the grain (which, I think, means having your knife running along the length of the breast and not the width but if I'm wrong then please let me know in the comments!).
The easiest way to deseed dried chilies is to cut off an end and then tap it, cut side down, on a chopping board - the seeds should just roll out.
I'm not sure I would recommend eating the dried chilies, for me they're more for infusing flavour, but I'm pretty sure you can if you want.
Make sure you've prepped everything in advance - this is really important to avoid hurting yourself.

1½ tsp soy sauce
1½ tbsp kecap manis (see Nasi Goreng recipe for more details)
1½ tbsp fish sauce
1½ large tbsp brown sugar
1½ tbsp water
Stir Fry
Vegetable oil
1-2 small bags of unsalted roasted cashew nuts
2 diced/minced garlic cloves
1 small brown onion, roughly diced
4 dried red chilies, seeded and cut in half
2 large chicken breasts, sliced as detailed above
2 medium sized carrots - peel off the skin and discard, then use the peeler to cut the carrot into thin strips
½ head of broccoli, chop the tops into small chunks (maybe 50p piece sized?) trying to remove as much stem as possible
Handful of okra, cut into rounds (if you can't get okra then use sugar-snap peas cut into small strips)
Optional green parts of spring onions cut at an angle to garnish

Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large wok until very hot. BE CAREFUL!
CAREFULLY place the cashew nuts in the oil, making sure you're close to the oil and not dropping them from a height (this is how I got my first, minor, burn). Turn them in the wok for a couple of minutes until they gain some colour - they'll taste good even if they get too much colour! Then remove using a slotted spoon and place them on a kitchen towel covered plate.
EVEN MORE CAREFULLY add the onions to the hot oil (this is how I got my first and rather nasty burn - by dropping them from a height in a rush), along with the chilies and the garlic. Cook until the onions soften and you can (in theory) start to smell the chilies cooking.
Add the chicken and leave to cook for 1 minute before stirring constantly and adding all of the carrots, broccoli and okra.
Stir until the chicken is cooed through.
Mix through the cashew nuts and the bowl of sauce, making sure everything is coated.
Toss the chopped spring onion greens in if you're using them and serve over rice.

Reading this back through, I realise most of it is about not burning yourself - sorry about that! - I'm sure most of you pay more attention to what you cook and how not to hurt yourself than I do. My latest absentmindedness means I'm missing a chunk of one fingernail and I have a small scar from one of the burns acquired in the making of this meal and learnt that the key is to have everything chopped and ready to go before you start, this isn't a dish that you can be dashing around the kitchen for!

You might also want to try these wok-based recipes...


  1. Looks delicious!!!!

    1. Thanks! I love it and it's surprisingly straightforward!


I love to cook and this blog follows my successes (and a few failures) in the kitchen. If you enjoy my posts, or think there is a problem with a recipe then please let me know