This cashew chicken is deliciously spicy and savory, and tastes almost exactly like The Cheesecake Factory’s recipe. You won’t want takeout anymore!
Savory with just the perfect amount of spice… hearty and filling, yet surprisingly light… this spicy cashew chicken is an amazing copycat of one of my favorite restaurant versions of cashew chicken!
Have you guys ever been to The Cheesecake Factory? If you’ve been, have you had the cashew chicken? Ohhhhh man… it’s GOOD. It has a uniquely deep and rich flavor that has been hard for me to replicate. Until now 😉
I found a recipe on Pinterest and tweaked it a little bit and BAM… just about the perfect copycat recipe!
One of the things I love about this cashew chicken, is that even though it’s fried, it tastes surprisingly light! That’s due to the use of rice flour, which is used in several Chinese dishes. It was a bit of a pain to find here in the Midwest, so if you can’t find it, I’ve heard you can substitute potato starch, cake flour, or half all purpose flour and half cornstarch. I found it at our Whole Foods, and it was pretty cheap (in comparison to the other specialty flours).
Let’s talk about this sauce… wow. Talk about finger-lickin good! It’s different from regular takeout cashew chicken… it’s deeper, more complex, savory, spicy with a hint of sticky sweetness. Simply put… it’s incredible!
The one downside of this meal is that the leftovers aren’t all that great. Anytime you put something crispy (chicken) into something wet (sauce), it tends to go soggy and well, kinda gross. But there’s an up side! You probably won’t have any left anyway 😉
I like to serve this over my Sticky Coconut Rice… the slight sweetness of the rice works beautifully with the flavors here!
The next time you feel like have some truly delicious Chinese food… don’t run out to a restaurant… make it at home, save money, and enjoy some quality family time. 🙂 If you’d prefer a version more like the takeout style cashew chicken, try this one!
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Copycat Spicy Cashew Chicken
- 1/2 cup peanut oil or vegetable
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast sliced into bite-sized pieces
- Seasoned Rice Flour recipe below
- Rice flour batter recipe below
- Spicy Hoisin Soy Sauce recipe below
- 8 oz cashews
- 6 pieces green onions sliced into
- White sesame seeds to garnish
- SEASONED RICE FLOUR:
- 3/4 cup rice flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 18/ tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of Chinese 5 Spice
- RICE FLOUR BATTER
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups of ice water (you want it to be thick but still pourable)
- SPICY HOISIN SOY SAUCE:
- 1 cup Hosin Sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger grated or minced
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 Tbsp garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp crushed red chili flakes
SPICY HOISIN SOY SAUCE:
Place the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, and sriracha into small mixing bowl and stir to blend. Add sugar, garlic, crushed red chili flakes and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
SEASONED RICE FLOUR:
Place all ingredients for seasoned rice flour into a ziptop plastic bag, seal, and shake gently to mix. Place chicken in the bag and shake until chicken is well coated. Set aside.
RICE FLOUR BATTER:
Place all ingredients for rice flour batter into a bowl and mix. Add cold water and whisk until combined. Keep cold.
TO MAKE THE CHICKEN:
Add oil to wok or large skillet and heat over MED heat. Let oil come up to temperature.
Add the rice flour coated chicken to the bowl of batter and gently fold together so each piece of chicken is coated in batter.
One at a time, add the chicken to the hot oil. You'll need to work in batches, as you don't want to overcrowd your pan.
Fry until chicken is golden brown on both sides, crispy, and cooked through. Remove with a strainer or kitchen tongs and place on a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain.
Pour out excess oil.
Add the spicy hoisin soy sauce mixture, cashews, and 3/4 of the green onions to the pan.
Cook for a minute to allow flavors to combine and the sauce to heat up.
Add cooked chicken and toss until each piece of chicken is coated in the sauce.
To serve, place chicken atop white rice and garnish with remaining green onions and white sesame seeds.
Recipe Notes** feel free to serve this over any type of rice you'd like, or even over some steamed broccoli
** cooking time is approximate, as depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to fit more or less chicken than I did
** Recipe slightly adapted from Feeding Big and ABC (from Cheesecake Factory)