Chicken with Cashews

I’ve been making this cashew chicken stir-fry for almost 10 years, and it is always a crowd-pleaser. The kids fight over the cashews and baby corn, and my husband usually eats three servings of it. For two consecutive years, S asked for it for her birthday dinner. Which is saying a lot, since S is not a child who likes stir-fries, for the most part.

Although the recipe is pretty straightforward, there are a number of components to it. And truth be told, I often wish I had a sous chef by the time I’m done prepping this meal. But part of it is my fault, because I like to include a lot of different vegetables. You can pretty much use whatever is in season, from asparagus to zucchini to broccoli and red bell peppers and sugar snap peas. Some of my favorites include shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts and baby corn. You could also substitute shrimp, pork or tofu for the chicken.

I send leftovers to school over some steamed rice and packed in a Thermos.

Chicken with Cashews (adapted from A Spoonful of Ginger)

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)


2 TB soy sauce or tamari

1 1/2 TB rice wine or sake

1 tsp sesame oil

1 TB minced fresh ginger

1 tsp cornstarch


4 TB canola oil


Seasonings and Vegetables

1 1/2 TB minced scallions, white part only (optional)

2 TB minced garlic

1 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts

1 7-oz. can chopped baby corn

1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper

1/2 c. sliced carrots

1/2 lb. sugar snap peas


Sauce (mixed together)

1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

5 TB soy sauce or tamari

4 1/2 TB rice wine or sake

2 1/2 TB sugar

2 tsp sesame oil

3 tsp Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce

3 TB cornstarch


1 1/4 c. dry-roasted cashews


1. Mix together the marinade ingredients, and toss the chicken cubes to coat them. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.

2. Heat a wok or skillet, add 2 TB of oil, heat until very hot, and add the chicken. Cook over high heat until the chicken becomes opaque and are cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Wipe out the pan.

3. Reheat the pan, add the remaining 2 TB oil, heat, and add the seasonings. Stir-fry for 15 seconds, then add the vegetables and stir-fry over high heat for three minutes. Add the premixed sauce and cook, storing continuously, to prevent lumps, until thickened. Return the cooked chicken to the wok and add the cashews. Toss lightly to coat and heat through. Serve with steamed rice.

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