Minced Chicken and Cashew with Thai Basil

July  7, 2010
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

This dish originated from Thailand and is loved by all over the world. I learnt how to cook this delicious recipe in a Thai Cooking Workshop. The original version does not contain cashews however adding these only enhances the taste! - MummysLittleHelper —MummysLittleHelper

Test Kitchen Notes

Tasty and simple. You get lots of Thai basil and it's flavor. It didn't say when to add the onions so I threw them in with the garlic. It's a very yummy salty sauce with lots of crunchy nuts. - Stephanie —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups minced chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup white onion
  • 1 cup Thai basil (if unavailable, use normal basil)
  • 3 tablespoons oil (peanut is best)
  • 11/2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 11/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soya sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 splash water (optional)
  1. Mix the sauces in a cup with the sugar - stir to dissolve.
  2. Heat a wok or frying pan on medium to high flame for 20 seconds. Add 3 tablespoons oil and swirl the wok/frying pan so that the oil is evenly distributed.
  3. Add minced garlic and fry for 10 seconds. Quickly add minced chicken and continue frying until chicken turns white.
  4. Pour the sauces into the chicken and mix well. Add the basil and fry for another 30 seconds. If the chicken looks dry, add a splash of water. Throw in the cashew nuts and turn the flame off. Stir the cashew nuts into the chicken.
  5. This dish goes well with rice. As an alternative, pop some pita bread into the bread toaster for a couple of minutes. Make a small pocket in the pita and fill with the Chicken and Cashew with Thai Basil. Bon Appetit!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Mary Madsen
    Mary Madsen
  • krikri
  • erinrae
  • Jara
  • Andrea

22 Reviews

J. August 29, 2020
Holy sodium. This was really overwhelming.

I’d agree with those who said to cut it with some other vegetables and something to add some heat. Otherwise it’s just salt. If I had low sodium soy sauce I’d use that too (and yes my cashews were unsalted).

Was looking for a way to use up a bunch of Thai basil I have growing ... not sure this recipe is going to be a repeat offender.
susan January 17, 2018
I made this and added small sweet peppers when I sauteed the onion and garlic. I also got a little nervous by how fishy the sauce seemed so I added some fresh ginger and Thai red pepper. It was very tasty and a bit spicy from the Thai pepper. I put basil in the dish and served on top as well. Served with Jasmine rice. Yum! I will definitely make again.
Chris G. February 13, 2017
JohnL I can't thank you enough for mentioning Maesri's Nam Prik Pao! I'd never heard of it & had to go look for it on the internet! Through that search I found the web site: She Simmers Thai Cooking and a very detailed explanation at: Then I looked at her recipe index! WOW For anyone serious about Thai cooking check this out!
(I can't vouch for her recipes as I just found the site an hour or so, ago!)

Mary M. June 21, 2016
Though the recipe doesn't say, I plan to throw the onions in shortly after the garlic!
krikri May 26, 2016
My 17-year-old son and I made this together, with turkey instead of chicken. At step four, instead of pouring the mixture of sauces I'd put together, he poured in the entire contents of a saucepan of harissa I'd had simmering on the back burner for most of the day!
We scraped off as much as we could and then added the right sauce mix, but it was still bloody hot. Our eyes were sweating but never mind! It was delicious and easy, and I highly recommend the recipe. Hold the harissa.
erinrae January 4, 2015
I made this and put it in lettuce wraps--fantastic! I doubled the recipe, added about 2 tbsp Sriracha to the sauce, and left out the sugar. I threw in some sliced mushrooms and zucchini along with the chicken, which made it even better! The sauce got a little more soaked up that way, and it's more filling on its own.
Jara August 7, 2014
What can I use instead of the oyster sauce? I have Hoisin on hand.
JohnL August 7, 2014
If you're going to be doing any Asian cooking, you should get a little bottle of oyster sauce--it will last indefinitely in the refrigerator; and it's also great in fried rice. It's not as sweet as hoisin, so if you go that route, I would cut back on the sugar. If I had to make this dish without oyster sauce, I would consider replacing it with Namprik Pao. I like the version sold by Maesri in a 16 oz jar. For some reason, Maesri's Namprik Pao in the smaller jar is different.
JohnL August 7, 2014
Not suggesting you hunt down namprik pao, I just happen to keep it on hand. It is a WONDERFUL seasoning paste used in Thai cooking.
AmyB February 10, 2014
Made this tonight and it was great. Added some chili paste to the sauce and threw in some steamed broccoli at the end to take the place of the rice. Great weeknight dinner.
Nuala February 9, 2014
Thanks for a great recipe! Quick, delicious, and satisfying. I'll definitely be making this again.
JohnL December 17, 2013
I think this is the first Food52 recipe I've tried, and I was happy with the authentic flavor--just like I remember in Thai restaurants. The cashews were not really necessary, but I included them and thought it worked together well. Only thing I added was hot pepper because I like my Thai Basil Chicken SPICY. Another thing this recipe has going for it is that it is quick and easy enough for weekday dinner. Well done MummysLittleHelper!
MzzFoggy December 4, 2013
Is "minced" chicken the same as ground chicken? The photo shows what looks like cut-up pieces of chicken. Which is it?
kstallbe December 4, 2013
I use ground pork and then put it over broad rice noodles and stir it all together, then garnish with the cashews. I think it would just depend on what you want to do with it.
Andrea December 4, 2013
Where does the onion fit? Chopped? Throw in with garlic?
kstallbe December 4, 2013
I make this regularly. I add it before the garlic.
kstallbe November 11, 2012
Just made this (without a wok) and was amazing! Better than any Thai restaurant I've had this dish at here in NYC. Thanks so much for sharing!!
AntoniaJames July 15, 2010
Yummm. Making this one tonight. Congrats on the EP!! ;o)
MummysLittleHelper July 17, 2010
Hi Antonia,

I was curious how the recipe went?

AntoniaJames July 17, 2010
Well, the sauce was sweeter than we like, perhaps due to the brand of oyster sauce that I used, so I cut it with some dry white wine, which made it more palatable. (I had not even added the teaspoon of sugar when I taste tested the sauce.) Also, we found the basil leaves, as one taster described it, "a bit overwhelming." I would probably coarsely chop them next time instead of throwing them in whole.
JohnL August 7, 2014
Duangrat's Thai restaurant in Falls Church, VA has a dish called Chicken Horapa (I think Horapa means basil) and the way they present the dish is with a full branch of basil added as a garnish. It's up to the diner to add it or not; they often present cilantro similarly, alongside their spring rolls in Vietnamese restaurants. Personally, I like the basil (and lots of it) wilted into the dish just like this recipe directs.
slulibby July 7, 2010
This sounds fantastic. I know it is potent, but fish sauce is so great with basil. like this idea a lot