Whether you’ve travelled to Thailand before or not, stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts (gai pad med mamuang himmaphan) is a classic Thai dish that you’re probably already familiar with. If you visit just about any Thai restaurant across the UK and Ireland, you will almost certainly find this popular and tasty dish on the menu.
This simple stir-fried dish probably originated in China, but found its way to Thailand at some point in history. As with many other food recipes, once a dish arrives in Thailand local cooks find ways to adapt it with their own inimitable style. In the case of gai pad med mamuang (as it’s sometimes shortened to) the recipe is given more of a kick with the inclusion of chillies. That’s not to say it’s a particularly spicy dish by Thai standards, but the addition of dried chillies does give the dish extra bite.
Not only does this stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts recipe taste good, there are health benefits too:
- Onion: thought to be effective against Covid-19 pathogens
- Cashew nuts: help strengthen immunity and nourish the nerves as well as being an antidepressant.
- Bell pepper: reduces mucus to help make breathing easier. It also helps prevent infections in the nose, mouth and throat area.
Stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts recipe
This quick and easy recipe is from Thai Taste Therapy. Other recipes may have subtle differences and further below we have also included a recipe from Hot Thai Kitchen so you can compare and see which one you prefer.
- 150g chicken thigh/breast
- 30g cashew nuts
- 30g onion (diced)
- 5g spring onion
- 50g bell pepper
- 15g chopped garlic
- 30g Thai chilli paste
- 2g dried chilli
- 1g white pepper
- 50g wheat flour
- 200g palm oil
- 20g soy sauce
- 27g oyster sauce
- 10g sugar
- 1g salt
- Slice the chicken thigh/breast into bite-size pieces
- Slice the bell pepper, onion, spring onion, garlic into bite-size pieces
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then dip in wheat flour to coat. Fry in oil until cooked throughout and then drain.
- Stir-fry garlic and dried chilli until fragrant
- Then add the remaining ingredients and stir-fry. Flavour with soy sauce, chilli paste and sugar.
- Stir-fry until all ingredients are thoroughly and consistently combined and serve
- Then toss in the cashew nuts*
- Serve with jasmine price for one plate dish or as part of a larger shared meal with other recipes
*If you are using raw cashews, roast them in the oven first. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), place the cashew nuts on a baking tray and leave them for 10-12 minutes giving them a stir halfway through.
Even if you’ve bought pre-roasted nuts, repeating the above steps and reducing the time in the oven to around eight minutes can improve the taste of the dish and stop the cashews going soggy.
Recipe from Hot Thai Kitchen
Although stir-fried chicken with cashews is a simple dish to make, there are variations to the recipe. Unlike the recipe above, Khun Pailin at Hot Thai Kitchen uses mushrooms in her gai pad med mamuang recipe and also takes a different approach with cooking the chicken.
What’s in a name
In Thai, the word for chicken is gai while pad (also written as phat) means stir-fry. Med normally means seed or stone. But it is the addition of mamuang, (the Thai word for mango) and himmaphan that makes the name for cashews interesting. In Thai culture and folklore, Himmaphan is a land where deities and mythical creatures like the naga and garuda reside. It’s a similar concept to the Garden of Eden so the humble cashew nut can be considered to be the fruit of paradise; the Himmaphan mango.
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