Thai Takeout Cashew Chicken or Tofu Stir-Fry

by cillefish

I made this the other day with tofu separately pan-roasted. Superfast, good taste, refrigerates well. The onion wasn’t in the original recipe, but it was missing something without it.

Thai takeout cashew chicken or tofu stir-fry
Serves 4-6


  • 1lb /450g boneless chicken breasts (or 8oz extra-firm tofu, squeezed and drained [half of a 16-oz package])
  • 2 Tbsp / 30ml vegetable oil (I used half olive oil, half peanut oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 4 dried chilies, chopped (double if these are the tiny, pencil-tip-sized ones)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced to 3/4″ / 2cm3 pieces
  • 1 small yellow or white onion chopped to 3/4″ / 2cm3 pieces
  • 2 Tbsp / 30ml oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp /15ml soy sauce
  • pinch of granulated sugar (the spicier you make it, the more sugar you should be adding)
  • 1 bunch spring onions, cut into 2in lengths (scissor ’em)
  • 6oz / 175g cashew nuts
  • Jasmine rice or sticky white rice
  • coriander leaves, to garnish (optional)

1. If you need to toast the cashews, pop them in the oven now and set your timer. If serving with rice, start that now, too.

2. If using tofu, press to remove as much water as possible, then cut into 3/4″ cubes. Dry-roast in a high-quality teflon pan and set aside. If using chicken, remove and discard the skin from the chicken breasts. With a sharp knife, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Set aside.

3. Cut all ingredients into appropriate amounts and set in individual bowls. Garlic can go with dried chilies. Sauces, sugar, spring onion, and cashews can go in a bowl together.

4. Heat a wok to high heat and swirl in the oil. Add the garlic and dried chilies and fry just until golden (this will happen VERY quickly; be careful to add next ingredients before chilies burn!)

5. If using the chicken, add in and stir fry until it changes color. Add the onion, stir a bit, then add the red pepper. If things are looking too dry and crusty, also add a little water.

4. If using tofu, add now. Stir in the oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Add the spring onions and cashew nuts. Stir-fry for about another 1-2 minutes. Serve garnished with coriander leaves (maybe 6 per plate).

Notes: Toast the cashews by putting them on a cookie sheet (with sides!) in an oven at 200 F – 250 F for 5-10 minutes. Check often; cashews are mild-smelling and won’t let you know when they’ve burnt. They’re also absurdly pricey everywhere but Trader Joe’s and Costco.

The image here has cauliflower in it, which I do not recommend. Carrots aren’t a bad idea: use just one large one (or maybe 8 baby ones), chopped thinly and a bit smaller than the bell peppers and onions, and add in just before the onion.

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