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If there's one meal I really miss from a Chinese take-away it's a classic chicken with cashew nuts.
I absolutely love this dish but because so much Chinese food is made with soy sauce it's sadly not gluten free.
However - with a few simple tweaks I've managed to perfect this gluten free chicken with cashew nuts dish which is just like the real deal.
With crunchy cashews, tender chicken and bursts of green pepper, it's such a simple dish to make for an authentic Chinese fake-away.
I now make this all the time and serve it up with some easy egg fried rice on the side and a bowl of gluten free prawn crackers.
And now I can make this dish so easily at home, I don't feel sad about not being able to eat Chinese takeaway anymore!
Making gluten free Chinese food
Making Chinese food gluten free is actually really easy to do once you have all the ingredients.
Ideally you'll also need a wok to cook this in, but any large saucepan or frying pan will work if you don't have one.
I think Chinese food has a real lure when you have coeliac disease or are gluten free because it's so hard to find it when eating out.
Most Chinese food uses soy sauce as a staple ingredient making it unsafe for someone with coeliac disease.
This also means it's difficult to avoid cross contamination with multiple dishes cooked in the same pans.
And taking out the soy sauce is no fun - especially when you can easily replace it with tamari, the gluten free alternative.
I dream of the day I can find a gluten free Chinese takeout but honestly, having found how easy this was to make, I don't feel so sad.
It's so easy to make and when it's ready in less than 20 minutes you can't really go wrong.
There's a full printable recipe card below with the quantities and method, but here's an overview of the ingredients you'll need.
- Chicken Thigh Fillets: I always use chicken thighs because they have the best flavour. You could easily switch this up for king prawns, tofu or beef strips if you prefer - it works so well with everything.
- Green Pepper: I find this adds a lovely crunch to the dish and a pop of colour to an otherwise beige sauce. You could omit this or use red pepper if green is too bitter.
- Gluten Free Tamari: Normal soy sauce contains wheat flour so the gluten free alternative is to use tamari. You can usually find this in the free from aisle and I personally think it tastes the same.
- Cornflour: Using cornflour (or corn starch in the US) is what thickens this sauce. You'll need to make sure you mix it up really well into the sauce. As soon as it's heated up the sauce will magically thicken up.
- Toasted Sesame Oil: I absolutely love toasted sesame oil in Chinese cooking. It's what gives this sauce it's wonderful flavour.
- White Rice Wine Vinegar: This adds a little tang to the sauce. If you don't have any, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar will also work.
- Cashew Nuts: The trademark part of this dish! Just be careful to check for any 'may contain' warnings because some packs of nuts have these. If so, they're unsuitable for anyone on a gluten free diet - though most packs of nuts should be OK.
All of these ingredients should be simple to source in the supermarket and once you have them, you can make this over and over again.
A lot of them are also used in a variety of Chinese dishes, so I'll try get some new recipes up soon for you to use up any leftovers.
How to make Chinese cashew chicken
Making this chicken with cashew nuts recipe honestly could not be any simpler.
It's ready in only 15 minutes and perfect for serving over rice.
First up you'll need to make the sauce by mixing up all the ingredients ready to pour into the dish.
It will look really runny but don't worry, as soon as you cook it, it'll thicken up.
After cutting the chicken into strips you need to stir-fry them over a high heat.
Then add the onions and peppers, cooking them enough so they still stay crunchy.
Once cooked, stir in the sauce, heat until it thickens and then serve.
See, it couldn't be any simpler to make this gluten free Chinese chicken fake-away at home.
Can I make dairy free / vegan cashew chicken?
This recipe is so versatile and it goes really well with anything - not just chicken.
The sauce is gluten free and dairy free, so this chicken with cashew nuts is already free from dairy.
To make it vegan, you could use tofu in place of chicken, or a vegan chicken alternative.
It would also be delicious with a mixture of veg - think peppers, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and more.
You can get creative with this homemade cashew chicken and make it exactly what you want it to be.
It's the reason I love it so much!
My chicken with cashew nuts recipe
This takeout cashew chicken recipe is honestly the best fakeaway recipe and once you've made it once, you'll be hooked.
This recipe serves four people (or two very hungry people!) but you can easily up or reduce the quantities depending how many people you're feeding.
Plus I also made a video to show you just how easy this recipe is to make!
And if you loved it, please do leave a review to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets
- 1 green pepper
- 1 white onion
- 3 tbsp gluten free tamari soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp white rice vinegar
- 160ml cold water
- 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100g cashew nuts
- Firstly, make the sauce by adding the tamari, cornflour, sesame oil, white rice vinegar and water to a bowl and mix well until smooth.
- Chop the chicken thigh fillets into thin strips. Roughly cut the pepper and the onion into chunks. (Sometimes I like to coat the chicken strips in a little cornflour before frying them but this is completely optional!)
- Heat the vegetable oil in a a large wok or pan on a high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until it starts to brown.
- Add the onion, pepper and garlic to the pan and continue to stir fry for another 2-3 minutes. You want the veg to stay relatively crunchy which is why we fry it quickly on a high heat.
- Pour in the sauce, mix well and cook for another 1-2 minutes until it starts to thicken. Add the cashew nuts, stir well and then serve immediately.
- It's safe to keep any leftovers in the fridge and reheat, however the sauce will go quite thick and you may need to add a little water when re-heating to loosen it. I do not recommend freezing.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 449Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 1335mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 33g
Need some more gluten free meal inspiration?
If you want to have a go at some of the other gluten free Asian-inspired dinner recipes on the blog, why not give some of these a try?
They’re perfect for creating delicious comfort food when you need it!
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Gluten Free Chow Mein
- Gluten Free Prawn Toast
- Chinese Chicken Curry
- Gluten free Egg Noodles
- Gluten Free Salt and Pepper Chicken
And if you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next!
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