Basil Chicken and Cashew Stir Fry

When thinking of a classic Thai food dish, the ever popular Pad Thai is usually top of most people’s list.  Not too far behind is Basil Chicken with Cashews.  Because we grow a lot of basil, and love cashews, this is an awesome stir fry dish that everyone in the family loves.

Basil Chicken and Cashew Stir Fry

Why Our Kids Love This Basil Chicken Stir Fry

And there are a few more great things about this dish that make it pretty awesome:

  • It’s loaded with great, wholesome veggies: broccoli, bell peppers and snap peas.  Zucchini and Onions don’t count!
  • You can make this in 30 minutes if you really focus and work efficiently
  • The flavors aren’t too complex for young palates
  • It doesn’t involve fish sauce (some will disagree passionately, but I’m just not a fan of fish sauce)
Basil Chicken and Cashew Stir Fry

At the end of the summer, I started growing basil indoors under a plant light. When trimmed and managed carefully, you can get a tremendous amount of basil for months on end. I’m harvesting two to three cups of basil every week!

That means a lot of pesto and frequent basil chicken stir fry nights

If you would rather make a vegetarian dish, consider swapping out the chicken with crispy tofu. Check out my recipe for a simple way to make crispy tofu

Basil Chicken and Cashew Stir Fry

How to Make Basil Chicken Stir Fry Like a Restaurant

Whenever you get a stir fry dish in a restaurant, there’s a distinct “glaze” on the food that’s packed with flavor and a little bit of shine. How do they do that?

Corn Starch.

This is where you really need to have a wok and get it up to scorching temperatures

After everything is nearly cooked, you’ll add a flavorful stock that’s mixed with corn starch. Once this comes to a boil, it will reduce down and quickly thicken. That turns into a rich, flavorful sauce that sticks to your food.

In a similar recipe, for Crispy Lemon Tofu Stir Fry with Broccoli, I make a really tart lemon stock that reduces and makes a delicious sauce

Basil Chicken and Cashew Stir Fry

Save More Toppings for the End

You’ll want to save plenty of cashews, basil and lime juice for the end when you’re about to put the basil chicken stir fry into bowls.

If you put the cashews in while cooking, they’ll get soggy and lose their crunch

If you put all of the basil in, then it will lose its fragrance. Same goes for the lime juice

So reserve enough that you can top the dish properly at the end and preserve all of those textures and fragrances

Basil Chicken and Cashew Stir Fry
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Basil Chicken and Cashews make an awesome stir fry that’s simple to cook. This is also kid friendly and can be low-carb with cauliflower rice

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Servings: 4 People
Author: Tony Bailey
Basil Chicken Marinade
  • 1 Tablespoon Dark Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce such as Tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons Crushed Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Ginger
  • 2 Teaspoons Sambal Oelek (chili paste)
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1/4 cup Basil Chiffonade
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Pound Chicken Breast
Stir Fry Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper
  • 1 Cup Broccoli Florets
  • 1 Cup Snap Peas
  • 2/3 Cup Chicken Stock
  • 2 Teaspoons Corn Starch
  • 1 Tablespoon Basil Chiffonade
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Cashews
  • 2 Tablespoons Basil Chiffonade
  • 1 Lime, Quartered
  1. Pound your chicken to a uniform size and cut into 1/2″ pieces

  2. Mix all of the ingredients for the Basil Chicken Marinade together and marinade the chicken.  This can be done 10 minutes or 4 hours ahead of time. 

  3. While the chicken is marinading, prep the rest of your vegetables in a separate bowl

  4. Warm the chicken stock and slowly mix in the corn starch.  Stir this thoroughly with the basil and make sure there are no clumps.  

  5. Bring your wok up to a scorching hot temperature, add the oil and cook the chicken for 4 – 6 minutes until browned.  

  6. Add the vegetables and cook another 3 – 5 minutes

  7. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, about 2 -3 minutes

  8. Remove from the heat, place in bowls and top with basil, cashews and a squeeze of lime juice

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