Cashew chicken, made from juicy, tender, boneless chicken thighs. Flavoured with honey and just a hint of chilli, this dish bakes by itself in the oven in less than half-an-hour, while you sit back and relax with your favourite tipple!
Oven-baked Cashew Nut Chicken
This cashew chicken recipe has to be one of the easiest meals ever to prepare. It’s a variation of the traditional Chinese take-away Cashew Nut Chicken. But instead of being stir-fried, it’s baked in the oven. So there’s no standing over a hot stove, stirring away. Just pop it in the oven and forget about it and you’ll have an authentic Chinese take-away on the table in less than half-an-hour. As an additional bonus, it doesn’t contain any oil, so it’s healthy too.
The secret is in the sauce. It contains all the usual Chinese suspects – soy and oyster sauce, and sesame, but it also gets a little sweetness from honey and a kick of heat from chilli. And because both the chicken and vegetables are baked in the oven in the sauce, the flavours really soak into the dish.
I always judge the success of a recipe by whether Graham has seconds. And in this case he did. You’d better make a big dishful – you’ll need it.
How to make cashew chicken
You can get the complete list of ingredients and measurements from the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
Chicken thighs – I use chicken thighs in this recipe because they are so juicy and in my opinion they have more flavour than chicken breast. But the choice is yours – you can substitute with the same weight of chopped chicken breasts if you like.
For the vegetables I’ve used broccoli, green beans, snowpeas and mushrooms, but chopped green pepper and baby corn would work just as well. Just keep to more or less the same ratio of meat to veggies. You need twice as much protein as vegetables by weight.
Cashew nuts (not in picture) – use unsalted nuts or you might find the dish is over salty.
For the sauce you will need:
- Chicken stock – you can use a stock cube if you don’t have stock to hand.
- Soy Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Honey, Garlic – these should all be readily available at your local supermarket.
- Sesame oil – in Chinese cooking, sesame oil is use for flavouring, not for frying. Go easy on this as it is quite strong and you don’t want to overpower the dish.
- Dry sherry – if you can get it you can use Shaoxing rice wine, or mirin. If you can’t get it, don’t worry, sherry makes a perfect substitute.
- Cornflour – this is mixed into the sauce ingredients and will help thicken the sauce.
- Chilli paste – I use a brand called Lazy Chilli and 1/2 teaspoon is sufficient to add just a small amount of heat. You can use whichever brand you are comfortable with, or you could even use fresh chilli to your own particular taste.
- Sesame seeds – to sprinkle over the finished dish, but these are optional.
Step by Step
- Chop the chicken into bite-sized chunks and place in a baking dish.
- Cut the broccoli into florets, top and tail the beans and peas, chop the mushrooms into quarters. Place on top of the chicken.
- Scatter the cashew nuts on top.
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a mixing jug and pour over the chicken and vegetables.
- Put a lid on the baking dish (or cover with tinfoil) and place in a hot pre-heated ove (220C / 425F) for 20 minutes until the chicken is tender.
- Remove from the oven and check the sauce. It should be the consistency of thick gravy. If the sauce is too thin, mix a teaspoon of cornflour with 2 tablespoons of water and stir in.
- Replace the dish in the oven, without the lid, and leave for a further 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
What do I serve with this dish?
You can serve cashew chicken on a bed of white rice.
I have two methods of cooking white rice:
- White rice in the microwave
- White rice baked in the oven – quick tip – pop a dish of rice in the oven with the cashew chicken – and they will both be ready at the same time.
Or you can make serve it over Chinese Egg Fried Rice. The ham and peas in the rice would go really well with the chicken.
It would also be delicious served on a plate of thin noodles.
Can I freeze cashew chicken?
Yes you can freeze this dish.
Allow the chicken to cool and then label and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months.
To use, defrost in the fridge then reheat in the microwave until piping hot.
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Recipe – Cashew Chicken
- 500 g (1 pound) bonelesss chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 75 g sugar snap or snow peas
- 75 g green beans topped and tailed
- 75 g broccoli broken into florets
- 75 g mushrooms (white or chestnut) chopped
- ½ cup cashew nuts about a handful
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup chicken stock use a stock cube if you don't have stock
- 2 Tablespoons dry sherry or chinese cooking wine
- 2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 Tablespoon cornflour plus extra if needed
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli paste
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F
- Cut the chicken pieces into bite-sized pieces, arrange in a large casserol dish and sprinkle with salt.
- Cover chicken with broccoli florets, green beans, peas and chopped mushrooms
- Scatter a handful of cashew nuts on top
- Mix the ingredients for the sauce and pour over the chicken
- Cover the casserole dish with a lid or cover tightly with tinfoil
- Place in oven and leave for 20 minutes
- Remove from oven and remove the lid
- If the sauce is too thin, mix 1 teaspoon cornflour with 2 tablespoons water and stir through
- Replace in the oven without the lid for a further 5 minutes until the sauce is thick.
- Serve on a bed of fluffy white rice.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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