Cashew Chicken

Feb 2015 072

When I say we’re having Cashew Chicken for dinner, cheers generally follow.  My children LOVE dishes with Asian flavors. Ginger and soy sauce work dinner wonders at our house.  I used to make this dish with Peanut Butter and called it Peanut Chicken.  When my son was diagnosed with a peanut allergy last year, he  crawled in my lap and cried because he would no longer be able to have his favorite dish.  There were so many foods being taken away from him, but this was the only one that generated tears.  My heart broke for him and I promised we would find a way for him to have Peanut Chicken.

Thankfully, he is not allergic to cashews.  I told him we could simply substitute cashew butter for the peanut butter.  Voila, problem solved! What I didn’t realize is I would have to make my own.  When we lived in Texas we saw cashew butter in our local grocery store all the time.  Now we live in a small city in Georgia and it gets a little hard to drag the kids around from store to store looking for ingredients.  Luckily everyone sells cashews and the butter is pretty painless to make.  I can make a jar of cashew butter and we can use some for this recipe and the rest for sandwiches or anything else we might normally make with peanut butter.

You may have better luck in stores near you or you can buy cashew butter online, but make sure you read the fine print if you have allergy issues.  If you don’t have any peanut allergies, feel free to use peanut butter instead.  There are a lot of ingredients in this dish, but I generally keep most of these on hand because my kids love the flavors so much.

Cashew Butter: 

  • 2 c. cashews
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil

Toss cashews into a food processor.  Blend until the nuts are finely ground.  Drizzle in the canola oil.  Continue blending until you have nut butter.

Cashew/Peanut Chicken


  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breasts
  • 2/3 c cashew/peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 3 tsp powdered  ginger (It is great fresh ginger, but I don’t always have it on hand.)
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 lb. chopped carrots
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cans light coconut milk
  • 2/3 c hoisin sauce
  • 3 Tbsp lite soy sauce
  • 1 lb green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • Cilantro to taste
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  1.  Make a spice blend using 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp ginger, 1 tsp curry powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp onion powder.
  2. This second step you can do one of 2 ways.  Either chop the chicken first and toss in the spice blend or coat each side of the chicken breasts.
  3. Heat 2 Tbsp of canola oil in a stock pot over medium high heat.  Add chicken to the pot and sear.  Cook about 3 minutes per side of chicken. You want the chicken to be nice and crisp.  Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  4. In the same pot, saute the carrots, onions, and garlic.  Cook until the onions are translucent.
  5. While the vegetables are cooking chop the chicken into bite sized pieces if you did not do so before cooking.
  6. Add both cans of coconut milk to the veggies and scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze.
  7. Add the nut butter, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, 1 tsp curry powder, 2 tsp ginger powder, and chicken broth.  Stir in the nut butter until it is well combined.
  8. Return the chopped chicken to the pot.  Cook for 10 minutes on medium low heat, stirring occasionally.
  9. Add the green beans and cook until they are tender, but still crisp (about 10 minutes).
  10. Add cilantro, stir, and serve over rice or pasta.  Top with chopped green onions, chopped nuts, and red pepper flakes if desired.

Note:  This recipe will feed our family of 5 at least two nights.  It makes a lot.