Gai Pad Med Mamuang, also known as Thai Cashew Chicken is our favourite quick & easy stir fry.
It’s a traditional dish served in Thailand featuring sliced chicken breast, roasted cashews, garlic, onions, sweet bell pepper, red chili, chicken stock, scallions, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and coconut or brown sugar.
We’ve traveled extensively through Thailand and eaten at all of the best Thai restaurants in Toronto. We’ve taken Thai cooking classes in Chang Mai and learned expert cooking techniques courtesy of the executive chef at JW Marriott Phuket Resort.
Cooking Thai food at home is quick and easy. Our flavourful recipe takes under 30 minutes to prepare and keeps in the fridge for several days. You’ll love loitering over these succulent chicken stir fry leftovers!
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Travel to Thailand by Cooking Gai Pad Med Mamuang at Home
On my first visit I spent over a month backpacking through Thailand. I’ve revisited Thailand two times since as a food and travel journalist and always love to discover new regional dishes. Over the years I’ve explored Thai destinations such as Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, Chiang Khong, Chang Mai, Sukothai and Bangkok.
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Where To Eat Thai Cashew Chicken
Haven’t traveled to Thailand before? It may be helpful to first sample the dish at a local Thai restaurant to better understand how it is served. You can also assess the variety of ingredients used and sample the correct texture before trying to make the popular Thai stir fry at home from scratch
I spent months researching the best Thai restaurants in Toronto, visiting popular restaurants that serve authentic Thai dishes such as Sabai Sabai, Sukothai, Khao San Road, Pai, Kiin, Bangkok Garden, Mengrai Thai and Favorites Thai BBQ. If you’re looking to sample traditional Thai Cashew Chicken in Toronto try visiting one of these award-winning restaurants.
What Is Gai Pad Med Mamuang?
Pad Med Mamuang is not an original Thai dish, the recipe is borrowed from traditional Chinese stir fry cooking methods. The popularity of Gai Pad Med Mamuang is rooted in Sichuan cuisines popular Kung Pao Chicken, also known as Gong Bao or Kung Po.
Thai chefs substituted the nuts in the dish from peanuts (China) to cashew nuts (Thailand). Some say the finest cashews in the world are grown in Thailand, mainly on the island of Phuket.
Mamuang means cashew in Thai but there is an interesting translation. The original meaning refers to the Garden of Eden, and the cashew nut looks like a small mango. The resulting pun can mean “mango of paradise”, suggesting culinary heaven.
The dish is traditionally prepared with chicken breast but can also be substituted for chicken thighs, turkey breast or pork tenderloin.
Gai Pad Med Mamuang Health Benefits
Our Gai Pad Med Mamuang recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.
Bell Peppers are an incredible source of vitamins C and A, which support your skin and immune system. They also provide beneficial carotenoid compounds such as beta-carotene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
Cashews are low in sugar and rich in fibre, heart-healthy fats, and plant protein. They’re also a good source of copper, magnesium, and manganese — nutrients important for energy production, brain health, immunity, and bone health.
Tips for Making Thai Cashew Chicken
If it’s your first time making Thai Cashew Chicken Stir Fry we suggest you start by reading the ingredients list and recipe directions below.
It’s the perfect quick & easy Thai stir fry to make when you’ve got a busy week and find yourself unable to cook for hours on end. From start to finish it only takes 30 minutes to cook our recipe at home in your kitchen.
You can cook the chicken in two different ways. My favourite way is the authentic Thai method, where thin slices of chicken breast are tossed in cornstarch or tapioca flour and then fried in hot oil. This cooking method ensures the chicken meat stays juicy and absorbs the sauce. The starch on the chicken exterior also helps to thicken the sauce.
You can also easily prepare our recipe by simply adding the meat strips into hot oil, which will give them an attractive golden brown appearance as they sear.
We like to purchase roasted cashews but you can also use raw cashew nuts and quickly fry them in a wok until they are golden brown.
Traditional recipes often feature dried chilies but we prefer to use fresh. You’re welcome to use whichever you prefer. For those who have a low tolerance for spicy heat, you may just want to add a few dashes of dried red chili flakes as an easy alternative.
When slicing the spicy red chilies, be sure to wear gloves and avoid touching the seeds as they contain oil that will irritate your eyes and skin. I once forgot to wear gloves when slicing a mountain of birds eye chilies and spent hours suffering the sting of burning hands. If you do find yourself with swollen and irritated skin from chili oil exposure, soak your irritated skin in cold milk or yogurt.
If you’re a lover of spicy food feel free to add additional chilies. You can also increase the heat of the dish by adding the chili seeds into the stir fry rather than disposing of them. If you have a low tolerance for spicy food we still suggest adding peppers as they offer an important flavour profile to the dish. Simply remove all of seeds to ensure the spice level is to your pallet’s preference.
If you don’t have access to cooking onions you can always substitute for red onions, vidalia onions or shallots. If you love fishy flavours, feel free to add a teaspoon of Thai shrimp paste.
What To Serve with Thai Cashew Chicken
If you’re hosting a large dinner party, serve homemade Thai Beef Salad alongside entrees like Thai Beef and Pumpkin Curry, Thai Red Prawn Curry, Pad Kra Pao, Gaeng Masaman, Khua Kling and Gaeng Keow Wan.
Gai Pad Med Mamuang keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days so store it in an airtight container and enjoy leftovers as a quick and easy lunch at work.
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Best Gai Pad Med Mamuang Recipe
Gai Pad Med Mamuang Thai Cashew Chicken
- French knife
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- 600 g Chicken breast thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp Cornstarch
- 4 cups Roasted cashews
- 6 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 16 Garlic cloves
- 4 Small onions sliced
- 2 Red Bell Pepper sliced
- 2 Red Chili deseeded and sliced
- 1 cup Chicken stock
- 12 Green onions sliced
- 2 tbsp White wine
- 4 tbsp Oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Fish sauce
- 2 tbsp Brown sugar
- Slice chicken breasts into thin strips and tossed with cornstarch in a mixing bowl until fully coated.
- Pour oil into a large wok with minced garlic and cook for one minute over medium heat until it browns.
- Add chicken breast slices to the wok and stir fry for 3 minutes until the exterior of the meat is golden brown.
- Add the sliced onions, bell peppers and red chili. Stir fry for an additional 3 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the chicken stock, wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and brown sugar to the wok stir until combined.
- Add roasted cashews and green onions and stir-fry for one minute. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
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