Thai cashew chicken has always been a family favourite in Thai restaurants. I’ve finally learnt how to make it and it’s pretty spot on that I don’t have to fight over it with my siblings at the restaurant anymore lol. It’s soo simple too that I can make it pretty much whenever I crave for it!
I’ve tried different recipes before and some use Thai chilli paste (nam prik pao), some don’t . Some use only soy sauce and no oyster sauce which I find is very odd. A few ingredients that I find essential for this flavourful dish are Thai chili paste (nam prik pao) and oyster sauce and to me, this recipe is the closest to the ones I’ve had at our favourite authentic Thai restaurant.
Nam prik pao and oyster sauce combined make the most flavourful sauce and it’s also perfect with stir fried shrimps and other seafood. These are the two sauces that I always have in my kitchen for quick stir-frys and I consider them staples in every Asian kitchen. There are a few brands of nam prik pao and out of the two that I’ve tried, Pantai is my absolute favourite especially because they have different versions for different heat levels and my heat level of choice is of course extra hot, which I cannot find with other brands. I find that this brand works really well with tom yum and this dish! Another well known brand that I’ve tried is Mae Pranom. It’s sweeter, much less spicy and fishy, and overall much milder. I think this brand would be more suitable for the western palate but personally, the flavour of this one is rather flat for me and I do notice a difference when I use this brand instead of the Pantai brand for this dish.
Stir-frying is the easiest and quickest in my opinion but authentically, the chicken is deep fried and then stir-fried in the sauce. If you prefer to deep fry, go ahead but otherwise, stir-frying is just as good, and not to mention healthier too and hence, can be enjoyed more often! 🙂
Authentic Easy Thai Cashew Chicken
Bite sized chicken pieces stir-fried in sweet, savoury and nutty sauce with toasted cashew nuts and smoky dried chillies.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- White pepper
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Thai dark sweet soy sauce/kecap manis
- 5-8 dried chilies
- 1 tbsp thai chili paste (nam prik pao)
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 fresh red chillies, julienned
- 1/2 cup cashew nuts, toasted
- 3 stalks green onions, cut into 2 inch lengths
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Prepare the sauce mixture in a bowl and set aside.
Season chicken with salt and white pepper and add cornflour to the mix. Heat up 1-2 tbsp of oil in a large wok to medium-high heat and stir fry the chicken. Set aside.
Add 1-2 tbsp more oil into the wok and fry the dried chillies for about a minute or until it darkens slightly. This will give your dish a beautiful smoky flavour. Set aside.
In the same wok, add garlic and thai chilli paste (nam prik pao). Stir fry until fragrant.
Add the chopped onion and fresh red chillies. Continue stir-frying for just a few seconds. Be careful not to burn the chilli paste.
Add chicken and the sauce mixture. Toss until it thickens.
Throw in cashew nuts, green onions, dried chillies and a drizzle of sesame oil. Toss until everything is evenly coated. Serve with warm jasmine rice.
- Substitute red chillies with red bell peppers for a milder dish.
- You can choose to deep fry the chicken instead of stir-frying if you prefer crispier chicken pieces.
- The Pantai brand is my favourite brand of nam prik pao for this dish. I find that it gives a more complex flavour than the Mae Pranom brand. With that being said, the latter is more friendly towards the western palate; it's milder in flavour and sweeter.