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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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Pamela B.
January 23, 2023
The Best I've Ever Made
The chicken was tender, the veggies and cashews added great texture, and the sauce was delicious. Will absolutely make again.
Keith G.
January 18, 2023
Delicious and Easy
Not at all sweet, or gloopy. Chicken came out slightly crispy and moist and the buttery cashew, sweet onion and scallions really pair so well. Sauce had some slight heat and of course I had to add extra chili árboles, because I love some heat. Great recipe. Not what you get at your local Chinese spot for sure!
Ken L.
January 16, 2023
Excellent - Why can't my local restaurant make this?
Easy to prep with great heat. I followed the recipe exactly as printed using six dried arbol peppers and one tablespoon of dried pepper flakes. It had heat, which I like, but it wasn't overpowering.
Adele K.
January 16, 2023
Thai Cashew Chicken
This was excellent! Thanks
Edward P.
January 12, 2023
Pairs well with Jasmine rice
An an easy recipe once the prep work is done. I am a believer in pre- measuring, cutting and chopping before cooking. Mild but with pleasantly spicy adding the chiles. The recipe would benefit from a rewrite to ensure clarity. Living in my 7th decade with glasses the magazine font size and print contrast needs enhancing. i will cook this again!