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Thai Cashew Chicken

4 Servings

35 minutes

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The Thai stir-fried cashew chicken, or gai pad med mamuang himmaphan, that home cook and food blogger Rawadee Yenchujit taught us in her Bangkok kitchen was a revelation. Deliciously filled with contrasting tastes and textures and with balanced savoriness, sweetness and spice plus loads of umami, it bore little resemblance to the goopy, sugary dish Thai restaurants tend to serve in the U.S. We opted to skip shallow-­frying the chicken as we were taught in Bangkok, and instead stir-fry it in batches, which requires a fraction of the oil. We also chose to include onion and scallions as the only vegetables, allowing the chicken and cashews to be front and center. We tried to do without Thai chili paste, or chili “jam”—nam prik pao, in Thai—but we discovered it’s an important element in the stir-fry. The mixture is thick, dark red and rather oily. Made by blending fried shallots, garlic, dried chilies, shrimp paste, tamarind and other ingredients, the paste is intensely and inimitably flavorful. Thai Kitchen roasted chili paste is sold in small jars in the international aisle of most supermarkets. Whole árbol chilies bring spiciness and aroma that supplements the red pepper flakes, but they’re optional, so feel free to leave them out. Steamed jasmine rice is the perfect accompaniment.




Don’t skip the step of stir-­frying the cashews. The cashews may already be roasted, but toasting them browns them a bit more to really bring out their sweet nuttiness. When cooking the chicken, don’t stir too often—every 30 to 45 seconds is good—so the pieces take on good browning, which adds depth of flavor. But as you stir-fry, be sure to scrape up the flavorful browned bits that form on the bottom of the wok.

35 minutes


  • 3

    tablespoons soy sauce, divided

  • 2

    tablespoons all-purpose flour


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Lu E.
September 1, 2023
Wonderful flavor
I made this last night for dinner and had to special. Order the thai chili paste as. I didn't have any from a local store, But it sounded really important so I made sure I had it and I think it Was a game changer. This recipe has a great flavor great texture We added a few more veggies like bell peppers But pretty much followed the recipe as written. Came out amazing. Will definitely be on my top rating recipes and will make it in the future.
Alan C.
August 30, 2023
Big Winner
This is a fantastic dish. I make a lot of Asian recipes and it's easily in the top three. It's also pretty easy. I added zucchini, which I would recommend for texture and color. Otherwise, I wouldn't change a thing.
Kathleen P.
August 20, 2023
Truly delicious; on the regular rotation
Everything they say about this recipe is true. …Where we are, we can’t get Thai red chili paste, but we got Thai red curry paste and it’s perfect. It doesn’t taste like the yellow Indian curry we know in the US; I think it must be very close to the intended taste.
Eileen F.
July 7, 2023
SO tasty!!
Spicy tender chicken and the toasted cashews make it truly a unique dish.
Darlene K.
June 8, 2023
Great Flavor!!
Loved this recipe. Added some french green beans to stir fry. It was amazing!