Gai Pad Med Mamuang, or Thai Cashew Chicken, is a deliciously flavorful Thai chicken stir fry. It’s got a signature pop of heat from Thai red chili peppers that’s nicely balanced with a touch of sweetness in the sauce. This is a great weeknight dinner since it’s quick, easy, and so full of flavor!
Thai Cashew Chicken (Gai Pad Med Mamuang)
There’s nothing quite like a good stir fry for dinner! No matter what stir fry you whip up, it’s guaranteed to be quick, easy, and flavorful. This Thai cashew chicken recipe is full of great flavors from the sauce, red chili peppers, cashews, garlic, and ginger tossed together with juicy chicken and vegetables.
Besides the stir fry base itself, the sauce here is what really makes it unforgettably good. It’s a simple combination of soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, chicken stock, and brown sugar but works to tasty together!
Instead of ordering take-out from your usual place, next time you have craving for Thai food, satisfy that hankering with this easy cashew chicken stir fry. It’s a dinner you can have on your table in just about 30 minutes, and let’s face it – you’d wait longer than that for take-out to arrive to your door anyways!
Plus, with this easy stir fry dinner, you get all of the flavor you want, with significantly less oil, ingredients you picked, and heat lever you prefer!
What is Gai Pad Med Maumang?
It’s a delicious Thai chicken stir fry! With that being said, this dish actually did not originate in Thailand. Thai cashew chicken was influenced heavily by Chinese stir fry, but instead made with traditional Thai ingredients and flavor palate. “Maumang” actually means “mangoes” but the name “med maumang,” in Thai, refers to cashews. “Gai” means “chicken” and “Pad” refers to a stir fry. So the dish literally means chicken stir fry with cashews.
How to Make Thai Cashew Chicken
Ingredients You Need:
For the Stir Fry:
- Chicken – You’ll need boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat or chicken breast meat. Either cut of chicken works fabulously in this stir fry recipe.
- Black Pepper
- Peanut Oil – This oil is fairly neutral, but still lends a slight (and delicious) peanut flavor.
- Thai Red Chili Peppers – They should be dried, minced, and have their seeds removed prior to using. (You can use fresh, but do take out seeds and membrane as well.)
- Cashew Nuts – use unsalted, unroasted cashew nuts.
- Onion – White, sweet, or yellow onions will all get the job done.
- Garlic – Use fresh garlic, smash and mince it yourself for the best flavor.
- Ginger – Just like the garlic, you’ll want fresh ginger for the most impactful flavor.
- Shiitake Mushrooms – Try not to replace these mushrooms with any other kind!
- Red Bell Pepper
- Bok Choy
For the sauce, you’ll need:
- Oyster Sauce – you can use gluten free version if you need to.
- Fish Sauce – same as above
- Soy Sauce – use a low sodium soy sauce but if you need gluten free, use tamari, or coconut aminos.
- Chicken Stock – For the most amazing flavor, try to use Homemade Chicken Stock.
- Rice Vinegar – This helps both with the consistency and slight tang of the sauce.
- Brown Sugar – light or dark will work well. Mix it with heated chicken stock to help it melt.
Prepare the ingredients.
Before you begin cooking, make sure all of your ingredients are prepared! This is a fast moving recipe, so you’ll want to have your chicken, vegetables, and sauce ingredients cut, measured, on hand and ready to go.
Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a measuring cup, and mix the sliced chicken with cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
Stir fry the ingredients:
Once a wok is preheated over medium high heat add some peanut oil, sear the chili peppers first, then remove them from the wok.
Repeat that searing process with the cashews.
Add more oil, then sear the garlic and ginger for a few moments before tossing in the chicken. Stir and let it sear before mixing.
Stir in the mushrooms and bell pepper. Sauté until the veggies are softened and chicken is done.
Stir in the bok choy, green onions, cashews, and chili peppers.
Mix in the Sauce!
Give the sauce another good whisk before pouring it over the stir fry. Stir well, and scrape the bottom and sides of the wok as you go.
Let the sauce heat through for a few minutes as you stir.
Garnish, serve, and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I serve with Thai cashew chicken?
Rice is always a great side dish for a saucy stir fry because it soaks up all of the wonderful sauce that escapes the chicken and veggies. And trust me, you won’t want any of that sauce going to waste! You can make it a bit healthier by serving it with Cauliflower Rice or roasted broccoli. You can also mix this chicken dish with rice noodles if you are really craving some noodles.
What other vegetables can I use?
You can feel free to throw in some additional veggies since this is technically a stir fry! Feel free to include any combination of this fresh variety of vegetables:
- Chinese cabbage
- Baby corn
How can I make this stir fry spicier?
If you want your Thai cashew chicken spicier, you can use fresh Thai chili peppers or simply use extra dried chilis. Just be careful with fresh Thai chilis because they are quite spicy! Also, don’t breathe over them while they are sautéing – that hot spice entering the nose will not be pleasant and can make you cough a lot.
Thai Cashew Chicken Recipe
Thai Cashew Chicken (Gai Pad Med Mamuang)
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken thigh meat or chicken breast meat
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- pinch coarse salt
- pinch black pepper
- 2-3 tbsp peanut oil
- 3-4 dried Thai red chili peppers minced and seeds removed
- 1 1/2 cups cashew nuts
- 1 small onion
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger minced, grated, or shaved
- 5 oz shiitake mushrooms
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 bok choy
- 1/2 bunch scallions
- 4 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- Make sure prepare your ingredients before starting to cook! This is a fairly fast moving recipe, so you need to have everything ready to go.
- Slice chicken into thin pieces, cut your vegetables, smash and mince garlic, peel and mince ginger, and measure everything you need for the sauce.
- Combine all of your sauce ingredient's in a measuring cup and whisk to combine. (Note: you may want to heat up the chicken stock for a few seconds in a microwave so that it helps melt brown sugar when mixed.)
- Combine chicken with cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and mix well, until the chicken is evenly coated.
- Preheat a wok over medium to medium high heat and add about a tablespoon of the peanut oil.
- Sear chopped chili peppers for about 30 seconds, mixing several times so they don't burn. Take them out and set aside.
- Add cashews to the work and sear for a minute or so, tossing them a couple of times as well. Take them out and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of oil and sear garlic and ginger for a few seconds. Add in chicken and sear until chicken is almost done, stirring often.
- Stir in sliced mushrooms and bell pepper. Stir and let it sauté until it starts to soften.
- Stir in chopped bok choy and green onions. Mix to combine and stir in cashews and chili peppers.
- Whisk the sauce one more time and pour it over the chicken and vegetables. Stir well, while scraping bottom and sides of the wok (or the pan). Stir slowly and cook until for just a couple more minutes.
- Take off heat and serve!