Oven-baked cashew chicken contains juicy, tender, boneless chicken thighs and lots of delicious sauce and vegetables. Read on to see how you can make this yourself in just 5 easy steps.
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Oven-baked Cashew Chicken
This is such an easy recipe for cashew chicken. It's my go-to recipe for when the Chinese food craving hits and I don't have much time. It's a variation of the well-known Chinese take-away cashew 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-tasting Chinese take-away on the table in less than half an hour. As an additional bonus, my version of oven-baked cashew chicken 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.
Ingredients for cashew chicken
You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making oven-baked cashew chicken on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
Chicken thighs - I use skinless, boneless 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. You will need 2 thighs or one breast per person (about 150g or 5 ounces per person).
For the vegetables, I've used broccoli, green beans, snow peas and mushrooms, but chopped green pepper and baby corn would work just as well. You should allow at least 1 cup of chopped vegetables per person.
Cashew nuts (not in picture) - use unsalted nuts or you might find the dish is overly salty.
Cashew Chicken Sauce ingredients
The sauce for cashew chicken is really the star of the show. As it cooks it thickens into a luscious sauce, packed with a combination of sweet, salty, savoury flavours.
- 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 used for flavouring, not for frying. Go easy on this as it is quite strong and you don't want to overpower the dish. A few drops are all you will need for a delicious nutty taste.
- Dry sherry - or if you can get it you can use Shaoxing rice wine or mirin.
- Cornflour or cornstarch - this is mixed into the sauce ingredients to help thicken the sauce.
- Chilli paste - I use a brand called Lazy Chilli and ½ 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 freshly chopped chilli to your own particular taste.
- Sesame seeds - to sprinkle over the finished dish, but these are optional.
Step-by-step instructions for oven-baked cashew chicken
You can throw this dish together in no time at all. Once the chicken has been chopped and the vegetables prepared, there are only a few easy steps.
- Place the chopped chicken in a baking dish and cover it with the cut-up vegetables. Scatter cashew nuts over the top.
- Mix the sauce ingredients and pour over the chicken and vegetables. Cover the dish with a lid or tinfoil and place it in a hot pre-heated oven for 25 minutes.
Once the chicken has cooked for 25 minutes you can remove it from the oven and check the sauce. It should be the consistency of thick gravy. The cornflour that was mixed in the sauce should have thickened it sufficiently.
If you find the sauce is too thin, just 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 has thickened to your liking.
You are not limited to the vegetables that I have suggested here. You can use whatever you have available in your refrigerator.
Why not try some of these suggestions?
- Julienned carrots
- Halved brussels sprouts
- Finely shredded cabbage
- Chopped red or yellow peppers (capsicums)
- Frozen peas
Just make sure to allow at least one cup of a mixture of vegetables per person.
Also, bear in mind that harder vegetables such as carrots and cabbage may take a few minutes longer to cook.
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 serve it over Chinese Egg Fried Rice. The ham and peas in the rice would go really well with the chicken.
And of course, this delicious spicy mushroom rice would be a perfect accompaniment.
It would also be delicious served on a plate of thin boiled noodles.
Can I freeze cashew chicken?
Yes, you can freeze this dish.
Allow the chicken to cool and then label and store 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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Other Asian-inspired meals
If you enjoyed this oven-baked cashew chicken you may also enjoy these other Asian-inspired meals.
- Crispy orange chicken
- Garlic chicken stirfry
- Garlic prawn stirfry
- Pad Thai Noodles with chicken and prawns
- Sesame chicken with vegetable chow mein
Oven baked cashew chicken
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- 600 g (1¼ pound) bonelesss chicken thighs or breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup sugar snap or snow peas
- 1 cup green beans
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms (white or chestnut)
- 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 (see notes)
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon chili 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.
- Clean and chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces
- Cover chicken with broccoli florets, green beans, sugar snaps 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 25 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 has thickened to your liking.
- Serve on a bed of fluffy white rice or with Chinese noodles
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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