Kickin’ Cashew Chicken

Kickin' Cashew ChickenPinit

Oh, wowz. This is cashews like you’ve never seen them before. Like, cashews on steroids. On vacation in India. I don’t know.

Indian food (read: take out) is at the tippy top of the food chain around this house. We affectionately call it the “leak” in our bank account. Well, one of the leaks. Part of our cutting-back-on-Indian-food spending plan is that I need to learn how to make Indian food, stat.

This Kickin’ Cashew Chicken fits the bill! It’s seriously kickin’ without being too complicated for a regular Midwestern home cook like mahself. The flavors are ridiculously mind-blowing. You can even make this healthier by adding fresh veggies to the mix. Heck, I’ve even made it without the chicken! This sauce is for reals.

Kickin' Cashew Chicken

So, now for the fun part.

You guys.

This is hilarious.

Before and After

I found this picture in the archives on my old site.

Other than the peas, this is {the exact same recipe}! Both shots were even taken with the {exact same camera}! I really did not know what I was doing with that thing. Like, really.

Thanks for humoring me by looking at my old photos. I think we’ve bonded.

Kickin' Cashew Chicken

Alright, enough fun and games.

Go make this for dinner, stat.

4.2 from 6 reviews
Kickin' Cashew Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup cashews
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 lb. cubed raw chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1¼ cup water
  1. Peel and quarter the onions. In a food processor, process the onion pieces for about 1 minute or until a smooth puree forms. Add the next 8 ingredients (through oil) to the onion mixture and process for another 1-2 minutes.
  2. In a heavy pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Pour the spice mixture from the food processor into the pan and fry for 2 minutes. The lightly cooked spices will start to give off a nice aroma.
  3. Add the cubed chicken breast, half of the cilantro, and the golden raisins. Stir-fry for another 1 minute.
  4. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice and garnish with remaining cilantro or cashew pieces.
I like the sauce to have some texture so I don't process it all the way (check out the texture in the pictures). I love cilantro and spices, and these amounts reflect my preferences. If you're hesitant, reduce the amounts. (And actually, the sauce is not all that spicy. There are lots of flavorful spices, but it's not firey-hot-get-me-a-glass-of-water spicy.) For a more veggie friendly dish, add broccoli, peppers, potatoes, or peas!

Have you ever made Indian food? I’m currently kind of stuck in a cashew chicken obsession, but I would be open to other homemade Indian recommendations.

I’m also open to take-out. Always open to that.

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  1. I love seeing the comparison of you photos two years ago and now – it gives me so much hope! As for this chicken dish, I love indian flavours too so I can’t wait to give this a whirl!

  2. that first pic is just….stunning! so clear, the blue and color contrast with the tan cashew and the green…oh, I just got really hungry! :)

    • Thanks Averie! At first, I though you were referring to the first picture in the comparison shot (the 2010 version). :) But the first post picture would make more sense!

  3. The difference in those two photos is incredible! I fear that my photos are currently like your 2010 version 😛 can you remember what changes you made to help improve your photography – was it all a case of investing in some good lighting?

    • Lighting is definitely huge, although I didn’t necessarily buy anything to improve my lighting… just started shooting in the right naturally lit places. I actually have a food photography book coming out in a few weeks that talks about everything I’ve learned in the last year and a half. Check back in the next few weeks if you’re interested! :) Good luck!

  4. Heather@Kids in the Sink says:

    This looks seriously good. My husband has a baby mouth and can detect a single red pepper flake in a dish, though, so I’m not sure what he would think of this. Oh well. If he can’t eat it, more for me.

    • Ha! I have a few friends like that. Contrary to the name, this is actually not spicy, but it just has lots of strong flavors… maybe he could handle it? Good luck!

  5. Love the comparison between the old and new photos. I second Kathryn – it gives me hope, though I’m conscious that I’m a long way off your stunning pictures…
    Also – love the cashew and chicken combination. A classic.

  6. Oh my goodness!! What a difference! I would eat the second one. 😉
    This looks super tasty. I’ve never tried to cook Indian food – I think it’s about time.

  7. oh, I love Indian food! I’m always looking for more easy Indian dishes to make :) this looks fabulous. Isn’t it hilarious to look back on old photos after you’ve been doing it for a while and think, ‘wow, what was I doing?!’ haha, I love it :)

    • It’s so weird to me that I was even using the same camera. Like, what was I doing?! I guess we all probably have some photos like that. :)

  8. Making this! Love Indian food!

  9. This looks delicious!!! One of my goals this year is to cook some foods outside of my cooking comfort zone and Indian would fall into that area. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I’m really glad you showed that photo comparison, I just started my own food blog and haven’t posted as many things as I’d like to because the pictures don’t come out very well. It definitely gives me a bit more hope seeing where you started and how far you’ve come. I’ve just got to keep practicing. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Wow, can’t believe that difference, such great contrast (and what a progress!). Cashew chicken sounds and looks so good, love the addition of raisins to this dish.

    • Ooooh we love the golden raisins – they get so soft and juicy! They’re the perfect sweet bite in this dish.

  12. I love cashews in things like this. They’re so creamy and good. And I love Indian food but I need to expand my knowledge – I only have a handful of recipes that I make regularly and that’s it. This looks awesome. And your pictures are amazing as usual – I loved the comparison picture!! That is an amazing change 😀 Even though my photography has a long way to go, I have some pictures like that, that will never see the light of day. They’re nice to keep around for a reminder though, haha.

  13. You’ve made some huge progress behind the lens, yep! But regardless, the recipe sounds great…I can’t wait to try it!

  14. I am TOTALLY making this! I LOVE indian food and this looks incredible Lindsay! Btw, love the “before” and “after” photos – your pictures are gorgeous, they are always so bright and happy and fit your blog title 100% :) keep rockin’ it!

  15. Hmm, most of my pictures look like your old ones.. apparently I’m doing something wrong too. Perhaps a few lessons on photography should be in my near future.
    So this cashew chicken definitely sounds kickin! In fact, it sounds awesome. I was practically licking my screen looking at the pictures of it. Thanks for the great recipe. I will be making this ASAP!

  16. Stephanie says:

    Linds, I have a gaggle (gaggle!?) of Indian recipes! My former boss is Indian and an AMAZING cook, and I went to one of her cooking classes once. I’ll have to send them to you. They’re pretty darn good. :)

  17. Love that comparison shot! It’s awesome to take a look back and pat yourself on the back for the improvements. I was just doing that a few weeks ago trying to narrow down photos for a new header and it was cool to see the progress in just a few months, let alone a couple years!
    Oh, and the recipe definitely looks “kickin” 😉

  18. My husband would love this recipe. Can’t wait to make it! Your photo comparison gives me hope….I need help with my photos and look forward to reading your e-book.

    • In my experience, this is a happy husband meal! And as for the photos, it’s always a work in process, no matter what level you’re at. Hopefully you’ll find the book helpful – I can’t wait to share it! :)

  19. I like trying to make Indian food at home. This recipe looks delicious!

  20. Gorgeous!! And too funny about your old photo. You’ve come a long way!

  21. I love India food and since we can’t handle any bank account “leaks” I never really eat it – so glad this will change that! Love the recipe name, love the pics, love the comparison…you’re generally awesome. :)

  22. This looks so fantastic! I love Indian food. Pinning it!

  23. It’s amazing to see how long we’ve come as food bloggers from some of our first photos to our photos now! This looks absolutely delicious and your photos are GORGEOUS!

  24. made this tonight – was super yummy! Added broccoli to it for some added veggies. Thanks for the great and super easy recipe.

  25. I made this the other day – thanks for the recipe! Notes: It was delicious, and I hid a chopped orange bell pepper in there (cooking for my bf is like cooking for a toddler sometimes). It wasn’t nearly as pretty as yours though. Next time I’ll do less vita-mixing of the sauce for some chunks like yours. But it was also super brown instead of reddish. So maybe I didn’t add enough tomato paste? I made some channa masala too, and the dishes went well together.

    Anyway it was a hit and will definitely be a repeat for us!

  26. Recently my husband and I just discovered Indian food, and we’re totally hooked. I’ve had mixed success with cooking Indian recipes, but here’s one that was absolutely delicious, just like Indian restaurant food:

  27. I will definitely be making this for dinner this week. Looks glorious.

  28. Angela Zeller says:

    Hi again. I’m the American living in Delhi, India who is obsessed with your site. Just wanted to compliment you on this one. My husband and I (and even my 1 year old and 2 year old) love this recipe so much I make it once a week or make a whole bunch and freeze the sauce so its handy whenever we have friends over. Our indian friend the other day seriously went back for fourths!! good stuff and soo easy!

  29. Made this tonight. My family and I are huge fans!! You are right, it totally is not spicy, just has bold flavors. So excited for lunch tomorrow!!!

  30. Hey Lindsay – I only recently discovered your blog but I LOVE it! First of all, I made this cashew chicken last night and it was delicious! A HUGE hit with me and my boyfriend. I also want to say that you sound like such an awesome, faith filled woman. My boyfriend and I have hopes to live abroad and do service for a year once we are married, and it’s great to know others who are doing the same. I’ll be following for updates!

    • I’m so glad you guys liked the chicken! And thanks for your nice message! How cool that you are both looking to live and serve abroad… do you know where you want to go?

  31. I love your recipe & photos. I love Indian food.

  32. Finally a tasty but easy way to make Indian at home! Came out really good, although I think next time I’d increase the tomato paste, yogurt, and golden raisins, and probably decrease the water. We like our Indian with some punch!

  33. Have you heard of Springfield style cashew chicken? It is famous in my hometown (Springfield MO) and surprisingly not well known anywhere else! It’s my go-to comfort food. Little fried pieces of chicken smothered in an oyster sauce (kind of reminds me of gravy), topped with cashews and green onions. It is unlike anything else you will have!

  34. This recipe calls for WAY too much onion. I halved the amount of onion and it still tasted mostly of onion and the texture of the sauce wasn’t too appealing, not very spicy either. It’s not something I would make again in the future.

  35. We love indian food and this looks great – what do you use when you leave the chicken out? I’m assuming chickpeas or tofu? Just curious what you use b/c I really want to make it but my husband and one of my daughters are vegetarian. Thanks!

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