Creamy Chicken Stir Fry with Cashew Nuts

  I’m someone who seems to plan my life in an all-or-nothing way, squeezing as many big life events into a small space of time as possible. In amongst being away, having a cold, getting ready to move house, start a new job and start a new university course, there hasn’t been a lot of time for trying many new recipes! But I’m certainly glad I made the time to try this one, which will definitely become one of my staple quick, tasty and healthy mid-week meals. This is another recipe from one of the cookbooks I was given as one of my leaving gifts at work, by my lovely now ex-colleague Priya. The book is called Asia Light, with the idea being to create delicious but healthy Asian meals. Priya is Malaysian and having spent a few weeks in the food heaven that is Malaysia a few years back, we can definitely trust that expertise in food – those Asian food fusions created by the mix of different cultures there are absolutely to die for.

I decided to make this dish because it looked healthy (as mentioned before, I’ve been recovering from a pesky cold!), easy to make and they’re all ingredients I already had or regularly use. Trust me when I say it tastes a lot better than it looks, it’s got a great mix of subtle flavours and actually feels really creamy despite it being a pretty healthy sauce. As usual, I’ll flag up the ingredients that you may have some reservations about! I know not everyone will have fish sauce, but it’s actually a real game changer in a lot of South East Asian foods. I’d recommend investing in this one, and as well as recipes like my Spiced Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Aubergine dish, it can be used in making most Thai curry pastes and in a good Thai soup. I think what makes this recipe so delicious is the edition of a little stock followed by the soy sauce and fish sauce, where to get rid of excess liquid you can turn the heat right up and essentially steam the vegetables to the point of fully infusing these flavours. I’ll also confess that I made an ingredient replacement of my own here, replacing ‘Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry’ with sherry wine vinegar (the rationale for buying this is outlined in this recipe!). So if you have this, please go ahead and use this. I’ll confess I don’t know how this tastes, but I found that the sherry wine vinegar brought a great delicate sweetness to this dish. As with any stir fry meal, I’d recommend prepping all the veg in advance to make life easy for yourself. And feel free to get creative with the veg, add as much as you like! This makes enough for 2 people, to be served with rice or noodles.


  • 300g chicken breasts or boneless thighs, cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 red chilli, sliced (optional, and deseeded depending on your spice tolerance)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (can substitute with plain flour)
  • 2-3 tsp olive oil, for frying
  • 50g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1/2 medium sized broccoli, divided into florets
  • 1 large red pepper, sliced
  • bunch spring onions, sliced diagonally
  • 50ml chicken stock
  • 4 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey

How to make it

  1. First, mix the soy sauce, sherry wine vinegar, ginger, chilli and cornflour in a bowl. Add the chicken, mix until the chicken is well covered and leave to marinade while you prep the remainder of your ingredients.
  2. In a non-stick frying pan, toast your cashew nuts for several minutes until they start to brown. Remove from the pan and leave them aside on a plate.
  3. Add the oil to the same pan and stir fry the chicken, for about 5 minutes or until the chicken starts to brown. At this stage, it shouldn’t be fully cooked yet. Remove from the pan and leave in a bowl or plate.
  4. Using the same frying pan again, stir fry the broccoli and peppers for 2 minutes, using a little additional oil if required. Then, add the spring onions and the stock, leaving this to steam for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken back to the pan, along with the fish sauce, soy sauce, honey and cashew nuts. Stir fry for a final 1-2 minutes, turning the heat right up to burn of a little of the excess liquid and to really let these flavours infuse by the steaming.
  6. Serve with rice or noodles, and enjoy!

Based on ‘Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts’ on Page 100 of ‘Asia Light’ by Ghillie James


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