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Thai Chicken with Cashew Nuts

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Thai chicken with cashew nuts… The perfect quick and easy 30 minute meal.

This delicious Thai chicken and cashew nuts recipe is from my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy Thai’. It’s out of this world delicious with tender pieces of chicken and crispy cashew nuts, all cooked in a Thai style garlic sauce.

Thai chicken with cashew nuts

Photo by Kris Kirkham for my cookbook ‘The Curry Guy Thai’.

About this recipe for chicken with cashew nuts…

This is a hugely popular dish at Thai restaurants and takeaways, and my family love it. It is important to cut the chicken pieces so that they are about the same size as the cashews (although this is more for presentation as large chunks also work fine).

I learned this delicious recipe for chicken with cashew nuts at the same restaurant in Phuket where I learned to cook Thai basil chicken. It was great to see such a professional chef demonstrate is wok skills. Even if your wok skills are lacking, you will be able to make this chicken and cashew nuts recipe to perfection. I promise!

Working ahead…

You can mix the sauce and fry the cashews, chillies and chicken a day or so in advance, making this a dish you can cook up very quickly after work with little mess.

The first time I tried making this recipe, I burnt the cashews and chilies. My teacher made it all look so easy! Don’t make the same mistake or you’ll have to start all over again. The cashews don’t take long to colour in the oil and cashews aren’t cheap, so keep an eye on them.

Although there’s nothing stopping you from doing so, the dried and fried chillies are not meant to be eaten. I like to serve this curry with jasmine rice. The chilies are of course edible though, so if you want to eat them, go for it.

You might also like to try some of these Thai takeaway and restaurant classics…

Looking for the perfect dish or dishes to go with your Thai basil chicken? Try some of these;

Thai red curry – Some people think this is the spiciest Thai curry but it usually isn’t. It’s made with dried bird’s eye chilies that aren’t as spicy as the fresh, green bird’s eye chilies used to make green curry. It is one of the most popular Thai curries out there!

Thai green curry – This is the spicy one and the perfect accompaniment for this Thai basil chicken recipe. If you like your curries spicy, this is on another level and so delicious too.

Pad Thai and peanut butter pad Thai – Whether you love this famous noodle dish the authentic way or you want to try it with the peanut butter sauce that is growing in popularity, I have them both for you here.

Still looking for inspiration? Why not check out my complete Thai section. I’m adding to it regularly.

Yield: 4

Thai Chicken with Cashew Nuts

Thai chicken with cashew nuts
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 250ml (1 cup) rapeseed (canola) oil, plus an extra 3 tbsp
  • 20–30 cashews
  • 20 dried red bird’s eye chillies
  • 450g (1lb) skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into small cashew-size pieces
  • 3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 red spur chillies, thinly sliced
  • 2 green bird’s eye chillies, cut into thin rings
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), sliced
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp Thai seasoning sauce (optional)
  • 70ml (1⁄4 cup) water or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp palm sugar, grated and finely chopped


  1. Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together and taste it. Add more sugar if you like a sweeter flavour and then set aside.
  2. Heat 250ml (1 cup) of rapeseed (canola) oil in a wok or saucepan until shimmering hot. Add one cashew. It should sizzle on contact but not brown too quickly. If that cashew looks like it is happy in the oil, add the rest and cook for about a minute until light golden brown in colour.
  3. Transfer to a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Do the same with the chilies, checking the oil temperature first. You want them to still be a nice deep red colour. If the oil is too hot, they will quickly burn and turn brown.
  4. Dust the chicken pieces with the cornflour (cornstarch) and add it in small batches to the hot oil. Fry for 3–5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to soak up the excess oil. Discard all
    but about 3 tablespoons of the oil in the wok or strain it and keep it for another use. If you have a lot of flour at the bottom of the wok, discard all of the oil, wipe your wok clean and start again with 3 tbsp fresh oil.
  5. Heat the oil over a medium high heat in the wok and stir in the garlic, onion, spur chillies and green bird’s eye chillies. Fry until the garlic is turning soft and a very light brown colour but be very careful not to burn it. Stir in the sauce mixture and simmer for about 30–60 seconds to thicken and then add the chicken, cashews and dried and fried chillies, stirring well to combine.
  6. Continue cooking for a minute or two until the sauce is sticking to the meat and cashews and then taste it, adjusting the seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately sprinkled with the chopped spring onions (scallions) to garnish.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 476Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 281gFiber: 27gSugar: 50gProtein: 135g

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I hope you enjoy this Thai chicken and Cashew Nuts stir fry. If you do try the recipe, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Nick S

Wednesday 16th of November 2022

This sounds great and quick, but silly question, what is Thai seasoning sauce? What's in it? Is that something I can just make?

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 22nd of November 2022

You can buy it in Asian markets but it is not crucial so just omit it if you don't have any. Thanks Dan

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