Thai Cashew Chicken with Jasmine Rice

Skip down below if you just want to get to the recipe! Sometimes I’m talkative sometimes I’m not… Take it or leave it ;P

I was vegetarian for 11 years. From a pre-teen to a Y.A. (young adult). And that is when I learned to cook. If only because my Mom was waaaaaay too busy to cater to my whims…  “You can be vegetarian if you want… but I’m not making different dinners just for YOU” And my Pops was a hunter, a meat and potatoes (albeit gourmet meat & potatoes) type… So I had to figure it out. That said my family could’ve been a little friendlier in the “eat your vegetables department”. Going out for dinner was always a nightmare. I had to battle to get just two dishes that had vegetables in them. They wanted to order meat, meat, meat, carbs, carbs and more meat! And I have spent the last 25 years convincing them all to eat more veggies. I now believe in a little of everything.

The vegetarian diet just really didn’t work for me. And I was even one of those pesce-lacto-ovo kinds. You know with the dairy and the eggs and the fish. So not a true veg… and yet I was sick ALL THE TIME and weak and by the time I stopped I felt like a 95 year old frail and brittle broken doll. Don’t get me wrong. I am not knocking the lifestyle at all. If it works for you. GREAT! Some might say it was the dairy and the wheat that made me feel bad or maybe the copious amounts of soy – which led to a battle with IBS for a number of years. That said if you are into the blood type diet. I am a type 0 and being a veggie really doesn’t work. Suffice it to say. I can now eat everything… in moderation of course… but I haven’t had a stomache issue in over 10 years and fully enjoy a good baguette slathered with brie from time to time or a nice agedashi tofu. I don’t subscribe to any diets or trendy ways of eating. I just eat. I think the French have it right. Just eat real food and don’t freak out if you indulge sometimes. Which I do. I just may have an In and Out Animal Style Burger copy cat recipe up my sleeves… But more on that later.

Now that I eat meat again…. It’s been 15 years actually. I have had to learn how to cook it! Now I am still not the greatest in the meat department. That said, I can make a great steak frites (thanks Pops!), crispy yet tender pan seared duck breasts, killer stirfrys (sorry to use that particular adjective vegetarians – but then why are you reading this post about chicken ;P), Bolognese, Irish stews, Italian braised beef, lasagne that will make you cry (I am not even remotely Italian) etc.. but roasting whole birds and huge slabs of meat still intimidate me. I have cooked one turkey to date. It was delicious. But I ruined a duck, a *grass fed pot roast, and chickens, well, I am always afraid to under cook so I end up overcooking. That said I will challenge myself to overcome these fears and attempt to tackle some this year. *I later learned grass fed beef is notoriously difficult to cook and actually better for braising than roasting. I think it was a terrible (if ridiculously expensive) cut though. It was like chewing gum made of tires. I almost cried. I cooked all day and had all the fixin’s, but then this useless hunk of sinewy, tough meat. Ughhhh, I cooked it rare. It made no sense! The company refunded me though. So good on them!

That said…If there is meat there will also be a ton of veggies in my dishes. And in a lot of cases the protein can easily replaced by something else.

So for this particular dish you can switch out the chicken for tofu if you are veggie. Prawns are great too and beef would work. Although chicken and prawns are the best in my opinion for authentic taste.

I have provided a lot of photos for this one because the steps are important to ensuring the veggies aren’t soggy, your sauce isn’t soup and your meat isn’t overcooked. Aha! See how I did that! I’m learning 😀

I hope you enjoy this Dish I Make! I have eaten A LOT of Thai food over the years and tried many different versions based on other recipes but I think I have cracked a near perfect version here. A least for my taste buds! Feel free to adjust and make it your own.

Recipe Sauce: ( you will notice a rule of 3s here it’s useful for making many stir fry sauces which you will see down the line)

  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar (coconut palm is even better but I need to replenish my pantry!)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black vinegar (you can find in specialty Asian food markets)
  • 1/4 chicken bouillon cube (you could sub 1/4 of chicken stock if it’s been reduced by half – it needs to be strongly flavoured)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

Break the bouillon cube up into the boiling water and stir til absorbed. Add the strong stock to a bowl with all the other ingredients. Set aside.

Note: If you want to make a veg version of the sauce I would use veg stock of course and skip the fish sauce. You could toy around with adding more black vinegar or try your hand at making a Vegan Fish Sauce)

Recipe Rice: (This fed 2 adults, 1 toddler, 1 kid so make more or less to suit you)

  • 1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice
  • 3 cups water
  • dash salt

Bring rice, water and salt to boil. Cover with lid. Turn down to simmer for 20-25 mins. Do not open the lid. Turn off heat, move aside to non heated part of stove. Keep covered for 5 more minutes to steam. Then pull off lid, stir and set aside with lid half covering to keep from drying out.

Note: You could sub some of the water for a can of coconut milk or even better coconut cream to make Coconut Rice! I find the stirfry has so much flavour it doesn’t need it. But it is darn tasty if you do go for it.

Recipe Stirfry:

  • 1 Vidalia/sweet onion diced (can use regular white or yellow cooking onions no probs)
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper sliced
  • 3 large or 5 small celery stalks cut diagonally
  • 3 large or 5 small carrots cut diagonally
  • 2 cups raw cashews unsalted (or roasted unsalted if you want to skip a step but definitely not salted YUCK)
  • 1 large chicken breast cut into bite size pieces (I like specialty/hormone free. But use organic or regular chicken whatever suits your needs! – you notice it’s only 1 breast for 4 people, it’s ’cause of all them veggies son!)
  • Red chili flakes to taste
  • 2-4 scallions sliced
  • olive oil

Toast cashews in pan on medium til getting… toasty. Set aside. Add oil and cook chicken on medium high heat with red chili flakes til done. Set aside. Cook onions til golden brown and yummy on medium high heat. Set aside. Reduce sauce in same pan til about 2/3 the former amount. Set aside. Add more oil to pan that is now on full high heat toss in veggies for a few minutes. Then add onions and cashews back in toss around. Then add chicken and sauce back in. Mix til coated. Portion out rice into bowls. Ladle stirfy beside rice and serve! Add some chili oil on top for the heat lovers. If there is still a lot of sauce at bottom of pan you can keep heat on high and reduce for another minute or so while you portion out the stirfry. Then spoon on extra sauce once thickened. It will make your dish glisten and taste even better. Don’t waste any of it – it’s too good!

Take out schmake out.

Toasting up cashews!

Toasting up cashews!

Sauce on the ready

Sauce on the ready

Onions get their own bowl as we will cook those separately.

Onions get their own bowl as we will cook those separately.

All them veggies lookin' so pretty

All them veggies lookin’ so pretty

Jasmine rice oh so nice

Jasmine rice oh so nice

Throw the chicken into the same pan you toasted your cashews with some olive oil. Dash on some red chili flakes. The kids don't like it spicy so this gives the flavour without making it unfriendly to the wee ones.

Throw the chicken into the same pan you toasted your cashews with some olive oil. Dash on some red chili flakes. The kids don’t like it spicy so this gives the flavour without making it unfriendly to the wee ones.

This chicken is not quite done yet!

This chicken is not quite done yet!

Ahhh there we have it. Golden, crispy little brown edges. Check a few of the large pieces to make sure done.

Ahhh there we have it. Golden, crispy little brown edges. Check a few of the large pieces to make sure done.

Onions get thrown into chicken fat to keep deepening the flavours.

Onions get thrown into chicken fat to keep deepening the flavour of the dish.

Now throw the sauce onto the cashewy, chickeny, oniony pan and reduce for a few minutes. Then put back in its bowl and set aside.

Now throw the sauce into the cashewy, chickeny, oniony pan and reduce for a few minutes. Then put back in its bowl and set aside.

See still using the same pan! Add in some more oil before tossing in your veggies!

See still using the same pan! Add in some more oil before tossing in your veggies!

Add some more oil and add your veggies. Leave alone for a couple minutes on highest heat to get some nice caramelized bits on the bottom.

Add some more oil and add your veggies. Leave alone for a couple minutes on highest heat to get some nice caramelized bits on the bottom.

Add the cashews and onions back in and toss around a bit.

Add the cashews and onions back in and toss around a bit.

Add your chicken back in and your sauce. Toss around a bit. But not too long. Just to warm up chicken again and distribute the sauce.

Add your chicken back in and your sauce. Toss around a bit. But not too long. Just to warm up chicken again and distribute the sauce.

All bowled up (err plated?). I added copious amounts of chili oil on top after this photo. I like it SPICY!

All bowled up (err plated?). I added copious amounts of chili oil on top after this photo. I like it SPICY!

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