When it comes to Thai food, the cuisine ranks among the top of our ethnic food preferences. This classic from Milk Street, Thai Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashews raised the bar as the best version we’ve made at home. We pretty much followed the recipe to a T, except exchanging a medium-large red pepper in place of the small one. Oh, and of course we increased the amount of cashews 😉
Milk Street’s version uses mostly pantry staples and can be on the table in about 30 minutes. The chicken marinates for 15 minutes before cooking, and you can prep the bell pepper and scallions in the meantime. Serve the stir-fry with steamed jasmine rice.
Tip: Don’t discard the marinade after draining the chicken. It’s mixed with ¼ cup water and becomes a sauce that lightly coats the chicken and vegetables.
With stir-fries, most commonly we use our carbon steel wok, but our large cast-iron skillet happened to be sitting on the stovetop that evening, so it became the vehicle of choice. Choose your weapon—I mean skillet—according to your own preference, but don’t use a non-stick otherwise the chicken won’t brown well, if at all.
Thai Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashews
- 5 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
- 3 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. white sugar
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 3/4 tsp. ground white pepper
- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- ¼ cup water
- 2 Tbsp. peanut oil
- 1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into thin strips
- 1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths; save some thinly sliced greens for garnish
- 1/2 cup roasted cashews, more for garnish if desired
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, pepper flakes and ¾ teaspoon white pepper. Stir in the chicken, then marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
- Drain the chicken in a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, pressing the chicken to remove excess marinade. Stir ¼ cup water into the marinade and set aside.
- In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken in an even layer, then cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in the bell pepper, scallions and cashews. Stir the marinade mixture to recombine, add to the pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid thickens and clings to the chicken, about 2 minutes.
- Taste and season with white pepper.
Adapted from a recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street